Stubborn grey winter is hanging on in Minnesota. We had snow fall briefly yesterday and a couple of days before that, and the temperatures have been in the low 30s. The trees are still bare, but the buds have begun to pop on shrubs and lilacs despite the cold, and the owls have returned. On days this cold it seems that the sun will never warm and the leaves will never unfurl. If it’s chilly in the evenings where you are, too, this soup is a nice way to warm up. The potatoes are incredibly creamy, and the flavors are soft, unlike the weather outside. I added some cubed ham for my Sweet Boy, who is rowing in this bitter cold, but you could keep it simple, too. Ask your butcher for an extra thick slice if you plan to add it.
Simple Leek and Potato Soup
Yield: about 8 generous servings
a drizzle of olive oil for the pan
1 medium onion, diced
3 small leeks, diced and washed thoroughly
3 stalks celery from the inner part of the stalk with leaves
3 pounds Yukon gold (or other waxy potatoes), peeled and cut into ¾“ cubes
4 c. chicken stock (recipe for homemade here)
1 pound ham, cubed (optional)
1 c. half and half
salt and pepper
- In a large pot over medium heat, drizzle a few turns of olive oil around the pan. When the oil is hot, add the onion and a pinch of salt and pepper and sauté until it is beginning to soften.
- Add the leeks and celery and another pinch of salt and pepper and sauté until they are beginning to soften.
- Add the potatoes and stock. If you will be adding the ham later, season the soup judiciously. If you are not adding the ham, season as you usually would.
- Cover the pot, raise the heat, and bring the soup to a simmer. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, until the potatoes are quite tender, about 25 minutes.
- If you like a creamy soup, puree the soup at this point and then add the ham, if you wish. If you prefer a chunky soup, add the ham halfway through cooking the potatoes. The potatoes will break down a bit to add body to the stock, and you may also smash a few cubes of potato to add additional texture, if you wish.
- Stir in the half and half. Do not allow it to come to a boil after this point.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning.
- The soup may be rewarmed over low heat.