Roasted Potato Leek Soup

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I really love to make soup in the wintertime.   It’s great on a cold night, and I really enjoy eating the leftovers for lunch for the next couple of days.  This soup is incredibly hearty with a wonderful flavor.  It doesn’t taste like your traditional potato leek soup.   This soup has depth.

The recipe is from one of my favorite chefs – Ina Garten, from her latest Back to Basics cookbook.   I have a number of her cookbooks, and have not had a bad experience with a single recipe of hers.  I find that she’s a tiny bit heavy on the salt, but that’s the only fault I’ve found.

This recipe takes a bit of time to make because once you peel and cut up the potatoes, then clean and chop the leeks, you have to roast them all for 40 minutes.   Getting the vegetables ready for the soup is the most time-consuming part of the recipe.   Once that’s done, the rest is pretty quick.

The arugula in this recipe gives it a really nice flavor.   I didn’t make the crispy shallots which I’m sure are delicious, but the soup was wonderful without them.

Roasted Potato Leek Soup
Recipe from Back to Basics by Ina Garten

2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch chunks
4 cups chopped leeks (4 leeks), white and light-green parts, cleaned of all sand
1/4 cup good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups baby arugula, lightly packed
1/2 cup dry white wine, plus extra for serving
6 to 7 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup heavy cream
8 ounces crème fraiche
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish (see note)

Crispy shallots, optional (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the potatoes and leeks on a sheet pan in a single layer. Add the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and toss to coat the vegetables evenly. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes, turning them with a spatula a few times during cooking, until very tender. Add the arugula and toss to combine. Roast for 4 to 5 more minutes, until the arugula is wilted. Remove the pan from the oven and place over two burners. Stir in the wine and 1 cup of the chicken stock and cook over low heat, scraping up any crispy roasted bits sticking to the pan. In batches, transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor fitted with the steel blade, adding the pan liquid and about 5 cups of the chicken stock to make a puree. Pour the purée into a large pot or Dutch oven. Continue to purée the vegetables in batches until they’re all done and combined in the large pot. Add enough of the remaining 1 to 2 cups of stock to make a thick soup. Add the cream, crème fraiche, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper and check the seasoning.

When ready to serve, reheat the soup gently and whisk in 2 tablespoons white wine and the Parmesan cheese. Serve hot with an extra grating of Parmesan cheese and crispy shallots, if using.

CRISPY SHALLOTS

Makes about 1/2 cup

1 1/2 cups of olive oil or vegetable oil
3 tablespoon unsalted butter
5 to 6 shallots, peeled and sliced into thin rings

Heat the oil and butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat until it reaches 220 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Reduce heat to low, add shallots slowly to make sure they brown evenly. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon, drain well and spread out to cool on paper towels. Once they have dried and crisped, they can be stored at room temperature, covered, for several days.

Yield:  6 – 8 servings

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