February is the month for lovers … potato lovers, that is.
February is National Potato Lovers Month, and that’s one food holiday I can really get behind. I’ve already professed my deep and abiding love of the potato; you can read my homage to the potato here. I’ve shared my secret for making perfect hash brown potatoes. Now I am giving up the recipe for one of my favorite potato-based soups.
Leeks and potatoes are a timeless combination. In her classic tome “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” Julia Childs’ version of potato leek soup, potage parmentier, is the very first recipe. Countless variations of the soup exist, from the simple Scottish tattie and leekie soup to the cold, creamy vichyssoise version invented in 1917 by Chef Louis Diat of New York’s Ritz Carlton Hotel. Fun fact: Chef Diat came up with his recipe as a way to keep hotel guests cool in the summer in the days before air conditioning.
In my version, the addition of carrot and mushrooms takes the soup to a whole new level of umami goodness, while imparting a rich, golden color. You can serve the soup as a first course or build a whole meatless meal around it, along with a green salad and some cheese bread. Just before serving, I like to stir in a dollop of Greek yogurt to add some creaminess and a few drops of sriracha to up the heat level.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 8 large leeks, white and light green parts only, cleaned and chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 4 large button mushrooms, chopped
- 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence (optional)
- 4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
- 4 cups chicken stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter in soup pot over medium-low heat. Add leeks, carrot and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in Herbes de Provence and cook for another minute.
Add potatoes and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
When soup has cooled slightly, puree until smooth using an immersion blender. (Or transfer soup in batches to a conventional blender and puree until smooth.) Season with salt and pepper to taste. Thin with additional stock if necessary.
Reheat soup and ladle into warmed bowls. Top with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a few drops of sriracha sauce.
Makes 4 servings.
What are some of your favorite ways to prepare potatoes? Let us know in the comments section below.