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Potato Leek Soup with Tarragon

January 24, 2008
Potato Leek Soup

I made this soup one chilly day in Ithaca, when it was wet with sleet and flurries — in other words, a perfect day to make some soup. We had a bunch of leeks in the fridge and some red potatoes to use, along with some tarragon that was sitting in the fridge waiting to be put to some use. I was looking over some different recipes, and ultimately decided to kind of combine a few different ideas into the resulting recipe: this one is partially blended, but I still like to have a little texture in it. It’s finished with some heavy cream and sour cream, for a little tang. I think the tarragon is a really nice flavor with the cream, leeks and potatoes – it’s got a hint of licorice in the flavor profile, but it’s more complex than that (good thing, that: licorice is one of the few foods I really don’t like.)

Potato Leek Soup - Step 1You can see cooking progress in these pictures (note the use of my most favorite cooking item: my new Le Creuset 7 quart Dutch Oven. Can’t beat it for heat retention, nice browning, and beautiful look.) I started out by sauteing the leeks, a few small onions, and a little garlic in some butter until the leeks began to turn golden brown. I then added some homemade poultry stock (lucky me still had some frozen from the big pot of stock I made with our turkey carcass after Thanksgiving) and the potatoes, and simmered until the potatoes were tender. You could stop here if you wanted – just season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve. But, I decided to make it a creamy potato-leek soup, so…using my immersion blender (one of the best cooking gadgets to own, in my opinion), I pureed about half the soup right in the pot to give it a bit more creaminess. It’s finished with a good glug of heavy cream, a good dollop of sour cream, and of course, salt and pepper to taste. Warm, creamy comforting soup for a cold, wet day.

Ingredients

6 tablespoons butter
4 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), sliced (about 2 cups)
2 small onions, chopped
8 garlic cloves, sliced
4 tablespoons water
1 pound red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
8 cups low-salt chicken broth or vegetable broth
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
salt and pepper, to taste (I used about 1 tsp salt)

Directions

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add leeks, onion, garlic, and 2 tablespoons water. Cook until leeks are just golden, about 10 minutes. Add potatoes and broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Using an immersion blender or a regular blender/food processor, puree about half the soup — you will have a creamy broth with pieces of potato and leek remaining, for texture. Stir in tarragon.

Stir in heavy cream and sour cream. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes about 8 servings.

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