Soups are always good, but today is actually a good day for this recipe as it's the beginning of Lent and it can easily be made vegetarian. Plus, it's really simple and really good.
With some crusty bread you've got an easy meal.
I guess it's a version of vichyssoise, but without being blended smooth (and it's best eaten hot).
The recipe comes from a book called The New Best Recipe and it's from the editors of Cook's Illustrated- a really neat little magazine with great recipes and tips. The cookbook is actually a GREAT all-around basic one to have (and it's more than 1000 pages in length total, so it's big too). So, if you don't have a basic cookbook, this one is highly recommended. It gives explanations for pretty much everything too. It can be pretty scientific and interesting- in fact, I can just sit down and read it. Sort of geeky, maybe, but that's ok.
Leeks are a great vegetable that not many Americans are familiar with. They can be pretty gritty/sandy and dirty between layers, so you want to make sure to wash them well! The photo above shows some extremely clean leeks....
After chopping them, place in a large bowl of water and agitate by hand to remove as much dirt as possible (a salad spinner also works for this job). Remove leeks to colander, dump out water, and repeat until you don't see any more dirt.
Rustic Potato-Leek Soup
4-5 lbs leeks
6 T (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 T flour
5 1/4 c low sodium chicken broth (OR vegetable stock)
1 bay leaf
1 3/4 pounds red potatoes (about 5 medium) peeled and cut into 3/4 inch dice
Cut off roots and tough dark green portion of the leeks, leaving the white and about 3 inches of the light green portion of the leeks. Slice the leeks in half lengthwise (yes, the LONG way) and chop into 1 inch pieces. (You should have about 11 cups).
Heat butter in large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-low until foaming. Stir in the leeks, increase the heat to medium, cover, and cook stirring occasionally, until the leeks are tender but not mushy, 15-20 minutes; do not brown the leeks. Sprinkle with flour and stir to coat evenly. Cook until the flour dissolves, about 2 minutes.
Increase heat to high; whisking constantly, gradually add the broth. Add the bay leaf and potatoes, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until the potatoes are almost tender, 5-7 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let stand, covered, until the potatoes are tender and the flavors meld, 10- 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately (with extra fresh ground pepper as desired).