Creamy Potato & Leek Soup

Creamy Potato & Leek Soup

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients:

4 medium leeks, white and light-green parts halved lengthwise, washed, and sliced thin (about 4 cups), dark green parts halved, washed, and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
1 small russet potato (about 6 ounces), peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 bay leaf
1 (4-inch) sprig fresh thyme or tarragon
1 large slice white sandwich bread, lightly toasted and torn into 1/2-inch pieces
Ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Bring dark-green leek pieces, broth, and water to boil in large saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes. Strain broth through fine-mesh strainer into medium bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible; set aside. Discard solids in strainer and rinse out saucepan.

2. Melt butter in now-empty saucepan over medium-low heat. When butter foams, stir in sliced leeks, onion, and salt. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes.

3. Increase heat to high, stir in reserved broth, potato, bay leaf, and herb sprig and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Add toasted bread and simmer until bread is completely saturated and starts to break down, about 5 minutes.

4. Remove and discard bay leaf and herb sprig. Transfer half of soup to blender and process until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to large bowl and repeat with remaining soup. Return soup to saucepan and bring to simmer over medium-low heat; season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish and serve.

Note #1: If you have an immersion blender, you can use that to puree the soup directly in the pot.

Note #2: Use the lowest setting on your toaster to dry out the bread without overbrowning it.

Note #3: Garnish ideas - garlic croutons, fried leeks, or a dollop of sour cream and sprinkling of chives (shown).

(Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated)