This is one of my favourites and like most soups it is simple and easy to make!
What you will need:
4 decent size Leaks
1 small Red Onion (optional)
2 cloves Garlic (optional)
4 or five large potatoes
50 - 75 grams butter
Tablespoon (or two) of extra virgin olive oil
60 - 90 fluid ozs water (3 to 4 1/2 pints)
A Large pan
Peel and slice the red onion and the garlic cloves
Peel, and cut the potatoes into decent size chunks, wash and rinse off excess starch
Slice the leaks lengthways and then slice across,
wash, clean and drain.
Place the butter in the pan on a low temperature, I cook on gas on the hob so this is fairly easy to control , and melt down the butter. I like to add a table spoon or two of extra virgin olive oil at this stage too.
Place the red onion and garlic in the pan and sweat down for about 3 to 4 minutes, while you are doing this Leaks out of the water and should be draining.
Add the leaks to the onion and garlic stir well trying to coat all of the leaks with the melted butter and olive oil, make sure you get all the leaks off the side of the pan (they will just burn and dry out there on their own). Once you have got the leaks coated in melted butter, on a really low heat, place the lid on the pan and allow the leaks to soften.
This, depending on the type of pan you are using,
and the convection into the pan can take about 10 minutes, but do keep an eye on it if this is your first time. Don't want them to dry out and shrivel up. Your leaks should look like this.
A word about herbs and stock here. I used to make my own stocks and when I have them I
always use fresh herbs, BUT, I have found the wonder of Knorr Stockpots, they are great, well at least I like them and they make a useful and hand addition to the store cupboard for emergencies!
So, once the leaks, onion and garlic have sweated down I add one herb infusion pot and for 60 - 90 fluid ozs water (3 to 4 1/2 pints) two vegetable stock pots. Melt these down into the leaks and then add the water to the pan.
Once the water has been added, you can now add your potatoes. I don't turn the heat up at this
stage, leave it where it is, place the lid on the pan and allow to gently simmer to cook the potatoes through. I should have mentioned that you need a good firm potato but here and you need to be careful that you don't over cook as you want some decent sized bits in there when you serve it up.
This usually takes about twenty to thirty minutes and you are ready to go. (Just test the potatoes with a skewer)
If you like a smooth soup you can scoop out a bunch of leaks and potatoes and then use a kitchen blender in the pot to blend the remaining soup down, you can also add a touch of cream at that stage if you wish, adding the removed leaks and potato back into the mixture, once nice and smooth. You should note though that if you do add cream to the pot you need to use the whole pot fairly quickly (not that it lasts long even if I am making it just for the two of us) but without the cream it will last a few days longer. I usually put some in a Tupperware dish and take it to work for lunch over the course of a couple of days.
We like to serve it up immediately with a sprinkle of parsley and hot bread with melted butter or again drizzled with Extra Virgin Olive Oil on it straight out of the oven. (well, butter or oil goes on the bread after it comes out of the oven, naturally!)
Total Prep time:
Peeling, chopping and washing 15 mins
Sweating down in the pan: about 10 - 15 Mins
Cooking time: 20 - 30 mins