It’s hard to believe it’s already December. It seems like yesterday that the markets were bursting with an abundance of fresh vegetables. As fall comes to a close and Christmas draws near, the weather is grey and cool and our fresh vegetable choices are more limited. Leeks are one of my favourite fall/winter vegetables and a peppery leek and potato soup is the perfect comfort dish for a dreary afternoon. Not only is it delicious, but it’s very easy to prepare AND it’s quite low in fat. What more could you ask for in a soup?
Potato and leek soup is a pretty standard recipe but what makes my version a little different is the addition of a good amount of freshly ground pepper. You can adjust it to your own tastes but I think it gives a bit of a kick to a dish that might otherwise be a bit bland. Use a pepper mill to coarse grind whole peppercorns. If you don’t have a pepper mill, you can crush the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle.
Peppery Leek and Potato Soup
Makes about 7 cups
- 4 leeks
- 3 russet medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into a 1″ dice
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 5 cups low-sodium chicken stock OR vegetable stock
- 3 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper (or to taste)
- Salt, to taste
- 3″ piece of leek (cut from the white part)
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- Salt, to taste
- More pepper
- Trim roots and green stalks from the leeks. Slice each leek lengthwise down the middle. Carefully wash all the layers of the leeks, making sure any sand and grit are removed. If they are very dirty, soak them briefly in cold water. Dry well and chop into half-rings. Remember to reserve a 3″ piece for the garnish.
- In a stockpot or enameled cast iron pot, heat butter on medium heat. Add leeks and sauté until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Watch carefully as they can burn quite easily. Add 1 teaspoon of the pepper and stir to combine.
- Add potato pieces and stir into leeks. Add chicken stock. Cover and let simmer for about 25 minutes.
- After simmering, check to ensure the potatoes are very tender. Remove from heat and let the soup cool a bit. Very carefully puree soup with a hand blender or regular blender until completely smooth.
- Return soup to the pot and heat until gently simmering. Add remaining pepper and stir through. Season to taste with salt. Serve with Garnish (see below) and a generous amount of fresh ground pepper.
- Cut leek piece into rings. Heat butter in a small skillet or saucepan. Add leeks and sauté until crispy, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and place a spoonful of garnish on each serving.
Bon Appétit and Enjoy!