Lent soup: Leek and potato soup

By Meghan Murphy-Gill| comments | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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I believe when I first started writing about soup and bread for Lent, I suggested an orzo and pea soup for the second to last week. Having run out of garlic this weekend, I was unable to make the garlicky broth that soup calls for, but having both potatoes and leeks around, I decided to make this one instead.

Whenever this soup comes together, I’m bewildered that such mild ingredients can contribute to such a rich dish. Not counting salt and pepper, there are a mere four ingredients (five, if you count water): the potatoes and leeks of course, butter, and thyme.

Like the tomato soup, this one is also adapted from Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food. As the Lent season winds down, we pray that the simplicity we’ve honed continues past Easter.

Leek and Potato Soup
Adapted from The Art of Simple Food
Makes 2 quarts, 4-6 servings

Ingredients
2 lbs leeks, cut in half lengthwise and sliced thin (be sure to rinse in cold water and drain to remove any leftover sand and dirt)
1 lb yellow or red potatoes (halved and sliced; I always leave the skins on, but Waters suggests peeling them for a smoother soup)
3 Tbsp butter
2 thyme sprigs
salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pot, then add the leeks, thyme, and a big pinch of salt and saute for about 10 minutes or until soft. Add the potatoes and cook for a few minutes.

Add six cups of water and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer, cooking until the potatoes and leeks are tender, about 30 minutes.

When finished, turn off the heat and remove the thyme sprigs. Using a hand blender, puree the soup until smooth. You can also do this in batches in a regular blender.

Garnish with fresh parsley (it’s nice chopped and mixed into some butter) and a slice of warm bread. This soup calls out for an accompanying bread with a stronger flavor, like pumpernickel or sourdough rye.