late fall, approaching winter

Yesterday, fearing that too many vegetables in my fridge were approaching their expiration date, I cooked up a storm. A snow storm, actually. While the potato-leek soup simmered on the stove, the pumpkin flesh and pumpkin seeds roasted in the oven, and I chopped apples for apple crisp, big fat flakes of snow floated down outside our window. It was our first real snowfall here in Anchorage, and magical in that first snow kind of way. Potato-leek soup is a great meal to have on such a day. It has lots of late fall vegetables found at the farmer’s market combined with plenty of fat from dairy products, to insulate you against the coming winter. You can find the original recipe here, but know that I make a lot of changes. First of all, who ever made leek soup with only one leek? Depending on the size of your leeks, use two to four. I may have even used five this time, since a few of them were quite small. Also I use sour cream instead of cream cheese, and I don’t measure–I just add a few spoonfuls when I’m blending half the soup in the food processor (yes, I need an immersion blender…it’s on the kitchen wish list). Finally, in a move that may seem heretical to some, I completely omit the dill. My husband had an overdose of dill that he has never recovered from and thus I don’t add it to most dishes. Against my healthy instincts, I do not cut back on the amount of butter. It really makes the broth creamy and delicious. I don’t add grated cheese to the soup when it’s in the pot–I find that the cheese flavor comes through the best when you add it freshly grated to the bowl. Got all that? Okay, fine, here’s my recipe with all the changes:

Potato Leek Soup with Cheese, the Rachel version (serves 4 as a main course)

2-4 leeks, finely chopped (make sure to wash well after chopping them–leeks hide dirt in their layers)

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 T butter

2 carrots, chopped

4 medium potatoes, chopped (I usually don’t peel them, but if the texture of the skin bothers you, by all means peel them)

3 cups chicken broth (I use Better Than Bullion because I just don’t have time to make stock)

1 cup milk

1/2 cup sour cream

shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Melt butter in soup pot. Add chopped leeks and garlic and saute for 5-10 minutes until tender. Add carrots and potatoes and cook for a few minutes. Add broth and simmer until vegetables are tender. Blend half of soup in food processor with milk and sour cream. Add to the rest of the soup and mix well. Ladle soup into bowls and top with a handful of cheese, and freshly cracked pepper. I think chopped green onions or chives would be a delicious garnish, though I haven’t tried that yet.

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2 Comments

Filed under dinner tonight

2 responses to “late fall, approaching winter

  1. Karen

    Hey Rachel! I have this simmering on the stove right now! I don’t think I’ll actually bother with blending half of it, because my mom doesn’t (and washing a blender is no small task. It smells delicious- I love potato leek soup.

  2. Karen

    oh, I don’t think my mom’s recipe involves any cheese, but cheddar cheese is the king of all foods so I’m sure it will only make it better…

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