Sunday, April 5, 2009
Spring Leek & Potato Soup, kicked up Emeril Lagasse Style
I have been cooking and baking for most of this Sunday. I have kept my promise to cook what's in my fridge, pantry and freezer so I have made soup, baked muffins, cooked artichokes, made an aioli and egg salad (with Old Bay Seasoning)-- many of these items are for our lunch boxes, for the work week.
It's about 78 degrees outside, so my husband thought I'd really lost my marbles when I announced that I had made soup for lunch. He had been outside, doing yardwork, and feeling pretty hot and sweaty. Still, he liked it and I loved it!
My inspiration to make the soup came from a need to use the beautiful spring garlic and leeks I received in my CSA box.
Truth be told, I had no idea what spring garlic was-- until my friend, Felicia, told me that there is a clear difference. Upon close inspection, I see what she means-- the spring garlic is a little smaller than leeks and have a purplish stripe. They smelled very mild. I decided to add this to my soup, though it wasn't part of the printed recipe.
I also have a several quarts of frozen turkey stock, my from Thanksgiving Turkey. Bless that bird's heart, I never waste a chicken or turkey carcass. I decided to thaw that and my decision was made-- hot or not, I was going to make soup for our lunch boxes-- and we are expecting rain by Tuesday.
Potato & Leek soup has been making the food blogosphere rounds, along with bundt cakes and Tuesdays with Dorie versions of baked goods. I have a recipe, by Rachael Ray, that I've made a few times. This time, I stumbled on Emeril Lagasse's version and I paused... bacon, white wine and creme fraiche. Not only did I have all three ingredients on hand, I liked the idea of adding bacon!
I had already prepped my leeks-- for those of you who haven't work with these, they can be very full of soil. My preferred way to prep them, is to cut them lengthwise and then in half moons. I put these into a colander and into a bowl with water.... swish, swish, swish... the dirt falls to the bottom of the bowl, and I'm in business!
I loved the idea of the garni, but I had already trimmed and tossed the greenery from the leeks, to better fit into my apartment size refrigerator (I dream of owning a large refrigerator). I also realized I was out of cheese cloth, so I improvised-- I resurrected two outer leaves of leeks and cut fresh thyme (from my garden), bay leaves and peppecorn-- and I wrapped it and tied it with twine. Very cool!
In a dutch oven, I melted a little butter and rendered the fat from 3 slices of chopped bacon; then added the leeks and spring garlic:
This really smelled wonderful and I was ready to start adding the liquids:
Now, for my favorite part-- I added 1/2 cup of sauvignon blanc (my choice for cooking with white wine)
Is anyone old enough to remember Graham Kerr? He's that "chef" who loved to cook with wine on his TV show. I was young, but I always wondered how pickled he really was. Anyway...
I added the potatoe, my cute little bouquet garnic (see it in the back ground) and my turkey stock, salt and white pepper.
30 minutes later, on simmer, the soup was ready for the next step:
I removed and tossed the bouquet garni and had my immersion blender, all plugged in:
I love my immersion blender. It's not an expensive one, and it's not cordless, but I'd much rather use this tool than to puree in a blender. I think it's easier and less chances of explosions! (Says me, who loves pressure cooking).
This soup pureed beautifully, and was a perfect thickness. I turned off the heat and added 1/2 cup of creme fraiche. Perfect! The bacon does come through, so omit it if you don't like bacon.
I raced to my garden and cut some fresh chives and garnished this soup with an extra dollop of creme fraiche. Bam!:
Emeril, I applaud you. I'm not a fan of your Bayou Blast (sorry, I'm just not big on hot sauce and I go easy on cayenne). This is the best potato leek soup I've made, so far.
I've already put portions into small bowls for our lunch boxes tomorrow.
It feels great to make something so good, that is economical, and made with frozen homemade stock.
Now... do I dare make one more thing today? We shall see... at least I have a week's worth of blogging all ready to go.
I'm addicted. I can't help it.