New England winters bring snow and frigid temperatures and my remedy is hot flavorful soup. During the long winter months, I made copious varieties of tasty soups and stews to warm us from the inside out. I freeze leftover soup for a quick meal.
Leeks, part of the allium vegetable family, is more subtle than sisters garlic and onion marry well with potatoes. You can puree this soup to a smooth texture or like I prefer just slightly puree leaving potato chunks. I find it more filling when I don’t puree all the potatoes. However, you choose to finish this soup you will be amazed by the flavor.
3 large leeks (about 3 cups, chopped)
2 tablespoons butter
4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth for a vegetarian option
8 potatoes (Yukon gold or Russet), peeled, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon sea salt, less or more to taste
Pinch of dried marjoram
1 or 2 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup heavy cream or half and half
White or black pepper to taste
fresh chives, chopped
Cut off the roots of the leeks. Cut the leeks lengthwise, fan them open under running water to dislodge any dirt or mud hiding inside. Cut off the tough dark green tops and discard
Slice the white and light green parts of the leeks crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place the slices in a colander and rinse with cold water to dislodge any remaining dirt.
Cook leeks in butter to soften: Melt butter on medium heat in a 3 to 4-quart thick-bottomed pot. Add the chopped leeks, stir to coat with the butter.
Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low, cook for 10 minutes until the leeks are softened. Check to make sure the leeks are not browning.
Add the broth, diced potatoes, bay leaf, marjoram, thyme, and a teaspoon of salt to the pot.
Increase the heat to high to bring to a simmer, then lower the heat to maintain a low simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through.
Remove and discard the bay leaf and thyme sprig. Use an immersion blender or standing blender blend about half of the soup if you want a chunky soup, or all of it if you would like your soup to be more smooth.
Add the parsley, and cook a few minutes more. Add cream or half and half. Stir until combined.
Add freshly ground pepper and more salt to taste. Top with chives.