Monday, November 22, 2010

Potato Leek Soup

It's snowing today.  The flakes are coming down like it's actually winter (anyone else in denial?), and an inch or so of white fluff has accumulated on tree branches and overpasses and windshields.  Here in Seattle, snow days are pretty big deals.  For one thing, it's rare for the stuff to even fall, let alone actually stick to the ground, so when it does happen, people get giddy over the novelty.  Some set to work building sculptures and ice forts, sledders hit the hills (or the streets) with everything from plastic, drug-store sleds to Lazy-Boy recliners, and some even cross-country ski to the grocery store.

If enough snow falls, though, responsibilities become painful. Getting to work on time, or at all in some cases, becomes a joke.  You're about as likely to see a salt truck or snowplow in Seattle as you are in Honolulu.  OK, that's an exaggeration, but barely.  Our hilly streets become vehicular slip-and-slides, and there are always those morons fine citizens who make the evening news by attempting to maneuver their cars on downtown's slippery slopes, only to end up spinning circles and crashing into street signs. Forget the city bus system, too.  Even with chains on their wheels, I've seen these enormous public transit machines forced to a standstill on the gentlest of slopes.

Today my typically 30 minute bus commute stretched to a lengthy (freezing!) 90 minutes.  Most of that time was spent staring mournfully in the direction the bus was supposed to be coming from, unsuccessfully willing it arrive.

My face and fingers are especially happy to be home.  The scene outside seems serene from the cozy warmth of my apartment.  My living room windows lend me a stellar view of the tree and roof tops in the neighborhood, all covered in white.  It's the perfect weather for a steaming bowl of soup.

I actually made this creamy, potato leek soup about a week ago, when snow in November seemed entirely out of the question.   But now that pigs are spreading their wings and taking flight, I'll happily share a warming winter recipe with all of you. 

Potato Leek Soup
(aka Vichyssoise - if you want to get all French-y about it)

1 Tbs. butter
2 medium leeks, white & light green parts, sliced
1 medium fennel bulb, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C. white wine
3 largish, white-fleshed potatoes, peeled & diced
1 tsp. dried thyme
dash of cayenne
salt to taste
fresh chives, chopped (for garnish)
freshly ground black pepper (for garnish)
  • Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the leeks, fennel and garlic, and cover.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  
  • Increase the heat to medium-high, add wine and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add the potatoes, thyme, 5 cups of water, dash of cayenne, and season with salt.  Stir, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are very soft.
  • Puree the soup in batches in a food processor or blender or use an immersion blender.  Soup should be smooth.  Return to pot,  taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.  
  • Ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped fresh chives and freshly ground black pepper.  
It's said that this soup is also delicious served cold.  I, for one, will not be testing that theory out for several months, at least.  Happy snow day :)


  1. Can just imagine how warm and comforting this soup would be! Looks pretty too.

  2. How much does it make? As in serves.

    1. Great question! This soup will serve about 4-6, depending on the size of your bowl. Hope that helps!


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