...or potato and leek soup, was the first "from scratch" soup I ever made. It was also when I fell in love with cooking. I was about twelve years old. I found the recipe in The Bulletin, a now defunct Philadelphia city newspaper. The soup seemed so fancy, yet easy to make, and I couldn't wait to try it. On my first attempt it came out beautifully--very encouraging to a novice cook--and I've been making it ever since. It's very versatile. I remember that the recipe said you can serve it cold and call it Vicyssoise (ooh la la). I've also used it as a base for New England clam chowder.
To make it you'll need:
6 small or 4 large potatoes
4 tablespoons butter
8 cups water
1/2 pint half and half or light cream
salt and pepper
Anyone who has used leeks knows that they hold a lot of grit and sand. I slit them with a knife lengthwise and rinse them in a bowl of cold water.
When they are clean, slice them up like this. Sautee them in a 5 quart pot with butter until soft, but don't let them brown. Add your peeled and sliced potatoes (sorry, no picture - you know what a sliced and peeled potato looks like, right?). Salt and pepper to taste, and add just enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low until the potatoes are fork tender.
At this point you need to puree the contents of the pot. I used to pour it all into a blender, then back into the pot--until my thoughtful son Alex, who's an awesome cook, gifted me with this handheld mixer. When it's completely pureed, add your half pint of cream. Done.
I like to serve it with cornbread. Any recipe will do - even a mix. But here's the key to delicious corn bread: bake it in a cast iron skillet. Most recipes call for a 400 degree oven. Add at least two tablespoons of vegetable oil to the skillet. Pop the skillet in while the oven is preheating. When the oven is fully preheated, open it and pour your batter into the skillet without removing it. The hot skillet causes the cornbread to be crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, and out of this world delicious.
The photo is not very good, but trust me, the soup is.
Taking a stab at making preserved lemons. The how-to came from Quotidian Life, a most interesting blog. Thank you, Melissa.