In my family, we don’t really do lunch on the weekends. Maybe I should rephrase that: we eat, but we don’t do large, elaborate lunches. While some families might sit down to pastas, gratins, breads and salads at midday, mine tends to favour nothing more taxing than a grilled sandwich, and more likely a mug of soup.
My mum makes wonderful soups, and always freezes and stores her creations. At any given time, there are probably two or three delicious and healthy homemade soups in my parents’ deep-freeze. When I’m home for a visit, I know that a good modest (okay, frugal) lunch is just steps and minutes away.
When he first started spending holidays with my family, it took my boyfriend some time to adjust to this habit of ours. Andrew’s not really a soup fan, preferring heartier, more filling meals in general. Slowly though, he’s come around to soup, at least as a form of midday nourishment (I have yet to convince him of its dinnertime charms).
Lately, I’ve been trying to introduce these weekend soup-eating practices to our London home, making Sunday “Soup Day”. Often it’s carrot or lentil, sometimes tomato, but yesterday, after returning from the farmers market with some new season bounty, I thought I’d try my hand at the old peasant classic: Leek and Potato.
(OT, but this is one soup I definitely wouldn’t be served at home; my mum loathes potatoes. I’ve never really understood this dislike, because potatoes are just about the most inoffensive vegetable I can think of. To each her own, though.)
My version of this soup, with smoked paprika and sour cream, has just enough kick to keep it interesting without overpowering the subtle flavour of the leeks. Served with whole wheat toast and a dollop of sour cream on top, it was good enough for Andrew to proclaim it “amazing”. Of course, this was during daylight hours; if you’re planning this for dinner, proceed with caution.
- Leek and Potato Soup
- serves 4
- 2 Tbs. butter
1 clove garlic, minced
3 medium leeks, chopped, white and light green parts only
1 tsp. sea salt
3 medium potatoes (or 2 very large), peeled and cut into 1″ chunks
1/2 tsp. paprika (if you can get the smoked kind, it’s good here)
1 litre vegetable stock
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1. Heat the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. When it foams, add the garlic and chopped leeks, sprinkle over the salt and grind in some fresh black pepper. Cook gently until the leeks have softened but not browned, about 4 minutes.
2. Stir in the chopped potatoes and the paprika, and cook for another two minutes. Pour over the stock and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
3. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Using an immersion blender, purée until smooth.
4. Stir in the sour cream and if using, the cayenne. Re-heat gently if necessary.