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Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Soup night - leek and potato

Tuesday night is soup night in our house.  

I love soup night.  It's an easy dinner to make and I really enjoying mopping up a bowl of soup with fresh bread - straight out of the bread maker (on long term loan from my Dad) which some might say is cheating, but it still tastes good!

On the menu tonight was leek and potato, our number one favourite.  I don't bother with a recipe book, and I'm a throw-it-all-in-the-pot soup maker as well which is why it's so quick and easy.  If you'd like to have a go, this is how I make ours.

You will need:

Leeks - about three medium-sized
Potatoes - two to three medium-sized depending on how thick you like your soup
Stock cube 
About a litre of water
Salt, pepper, mixed herbs to taste

Large pan to cook it all in
Blender or hand-blender if, like us, you prefer smooth soups



Starting with the leeks, I cut off the bottom inch and the top leaves just past the end of the main stem and remove the outside layer of leaf.  Wash the leeks, taking care to get out any soil that may have become trapped in the inner layers.

Chop roughly and add to the pan.  I always make soup in this pan; it makes just the right amount for the four of us.  It was given to us as a wedding present (I have a bit of a soft spot for Portmeirion kitchenware; I love the huge flowers, especially the passion flowers) and although it's got a few war wounds now where the lid's been dropped and the enamel's chipped, it's still going strong.

If you like chunky soup, you may want to be more careful about your chopping, but as mine goes through the blender I don't worry about it too much.  Many soup recipes suggest frying the leeks in butter or oil at this point, but I don't do that; I'm sure there's a technical reason why you should but I don't find that our soup is lacking in flavour from not doing that.


Next, I peel and chop the potatoes.  Again, these are in large chunks but you might want to make them smaller.  The more potatoes you add, the thicker your soup will be.  I've used red potatoes tonight but any variety is fine.


Add the stock cube, water, salt and pepper and herbs.  I use about a teaspoonful of dried herbs at this time of year.  Bring the water to the boil.


Soup only takes as long to cook as it takes for your vegetables to soften, so you can actually make it in about twenty minutes.  My preference is to bring the water to the boil and then put the pan in the bottom (simmering) oven of my Aga where the temperature is very low and leave it for a couple of hours.  You can get the same effect in a conventional oven by using a low heat, or by using a slow cooker.  The best thing about cooking like this is that you're not losing any of the goodness of the vegetables because you won't be draining any of the liquid off, and because it's soup it doesn't matter if the vegetables are over-cooked as you eat it with a spoon anyway.


Once the vegetables are cooked, transfer them to a blender and whizz it up until it's smooth.  The advantage of doing this is that if you happened to be the kind of person who wanted to, say, sneak some extra vegetables into the soup without anybody noticing (particularly small people who might otherwise poke at it and say "urgh" without even trying it), then the blending process hides all manner of extra ingredients and nobody ever notices that they're eating more veg than they expected.  (Not that any of us would ever feel the need to be that sneaky, of course.  Not even when the courgette plants in the garden have gone into overdrive and there seems to be no way of getting anyone to eat the glut.)  If it turns out a bit thick, simply add more water and bring it back to the boil.  If it's too thin, you can add cornflour to thicken it up, just as you would with a sauce. Taste for seasoning.


Finally, swirl some cream into your soup if you'd like to, then it's time to sit down and enjoy your meal!  


Another benefit of soup night is that there's not so much washing up - always a bonus!  If you've made too much, the soup will keep for a day or two (and actually tastes better the day after) or you can freeze it as long as you haven't put any cream into it.  

Mmm.  Soup night.  What's not to like?


12 comments:

  1. I love soup, but never have tried to serve it as a main meal; I can't even get stew past my boys! My Dad has a soup maker (he loves his gadgets) and it does everything bar chop the veg for you; from veg to blended soup in 20 minutes. I looked into them, but couldn't justify the price new, so I'm on the look out for second hand.

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    1. You really don't need anything more complicated than a pan you can leave in the oven, though if you like smooth soup you'll need something to blend it with. Your boys are missing out - hopefully they'll see the light one day! :-) xx

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  2. Hello,

    I love soup very much and when we are in the winter I prepare soups such as peas soup, beans soup, or just put the vegetables in a pan and let them boil. Oh dear, delicious! Yummy Yummy!! Yours looks scrumptious!!

    Sandra

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    1. Thanks, Sandra, it really is lovely soup and my girls would have it every week if I didn't insist that we tried new recipes! Bean soups are good but I haven't tried making one myself for a while - I must give it a go! xx

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  3. Oh my, this looks so so good. Since I have a bag of frozen leeks in the freezer (I buy them at my local Trader Joes) they will work great for soup. I love your Portmeiron sauce pan. It's as lovely as the soup! Thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful recipe :)

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    1. Frozen leeks will work very well and because it's a soup, you don't have the worry that they'll be mushy on your plate when you cook them. I'd definitely recommend giving it a go! xx

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  4. That looks scrummy. I went through a phase of making my own soup to take into school for lunches, but roasted butternut squash soup was a bit long winded. This looks totally manageable, and leek and potato is my favourite. Maybe we need to try it one day for lunch!

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    1. Yes you do! :-) I'm not sure how roasted butternut squash would go down with small daughter, but we do need to expand our list of "old favourites" xx

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  5. That looks just delicious!!! So yummy, perfect for a cold winter night :)

    Have a nice day!!

    Lluisa xx

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    1. Thank you! Hope you have a great day too xx

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  6. After I saw this post I bought some Leeks. Made the soup the day before yesterday and it was lovely. I have phases of making soup but naturally this time of year is the best time, as it's so comforting with lovely home made bread.

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    1. I'm so glad you liked it! It's so easy to make soup (the way I throw it all in to the pan, anyway!) and you're right, it's such a comforting thing to eat at this time of the year xx

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