Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Bowl of Local Soup
Recipe: Potato and Leek Soup

It is always a big thrill to cook an entire meal where all of the main ingredients are local ones. In this case, it was a quick potato and leek soup (recipe below) with a side salad (all veggies courtesy of Tracie's Community Farm)and a slice of kalamata olive bread from Orchard Hill Breadworks, paired with a glass of cider brewed by yours truly. This time of plenty is a great opportunity to challenge yourself to cook one or two meals a week with local ingredients, because it is so easy to do.

Hit your local Farmer's Market or food co-op, if you have one nearby. Besides the beneficial environmental impact of using produce that has not been shipped across the country (or from Peru for that matter--no offense Peru) you will be supporting small farmers and local markets. Plus, your money stays close and helps your immediate community thrive. And the quality of something picked yesterday at the peak of ripeness versus something picked a month ago that has been jostled around in a packing crate is no contest. What is not to love here? Get local and get cooking!

Simple Potato and Leek Soup (based off a recipe from Anna Thomas)

5 or 6 medium sized potatoes, washed, peeled if you like (I don't bother), chopped into cubes
2 leeks, slit down the middle and rinsed
3 Tb butter
Soup stock if you have some, water if not, about 6 cups (If using water try replacing 1 or 2 cups of it with white wine or hard cider)
1 bay leaf and some fresh thyme, pulled from stalks, about 2 or 3 tsp worth (dried works here too)
1 or 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cups of milk (or cream if you are feeling decadent, I used 2% milk last night and it tasted just fine)

1. Heat up your stock or water. While it is heating, slice leeks and chop potatoes. 
2. Melt butter in soup pot over med heat. Add leeks and cook for 4 or 5 minutes, then add spices and give a stir.
3. Add potatoes, stir around so everything is coated, and then add the stock.
4. Partially cover and cook for about 15-20 minutes until potatoes are tender (the smaller you chop them the shorter this time will be).
5. Remove bay leaf, add chopped garlic and milk, reduce heat to low. Blend with an immersion blender or do it in batches in a regular blender, but be sure not to overblend, do it in pulses or you will get a nicely flavored potato glue. Really, if you don't have one already, spend $20 on an immersion blender, very handy and so much easier to clean.
6. If your milk was very cold, gently heat the soup through, add salt and pepper to taste (lots of pepper!), serve into a bowl and garnish with a few sprigs of thyme.

serves 4-6

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