Recently I wrote about my experience baking bread that turned out, unaccountably, to resemble some form of punitive nourishment intended for prison inmates enduring “the hole” due to unmentionable crimes against nature. As I mentioned in that post, the bread was intended to accompany a potato and leek soup, which turned out to be as good as the bread was bad.
If one is a fan of Julia Child, and has used either or both volumes of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, this kind of basic, creamy, potato and leek soup is instantly recognizable. It is easily dressed up with snippets of green beans, carrots, fennel, parsnips, asparagus or any other vegetables you have lying about, and is generally served hot, although a cold, pureed version is the equally wonderful Vichyssoisse. This recipe (from The Bon Apetit Cookbook because I can’t locate my mother’s copies of Julia Child’s books in order to steal them) specifies that the soup should be served hot and spiced with tarragon, I used chives instead, and served it hot for dinner, and then pureed it and ate it cold for lunch the next day. It was splendid in both incarnations. This is a good standard to have in your repertoire all year round.
Leek, Potato and Tarragon Soup
(Adapted from The Bon Apetit Cookbook)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only; about 2 large)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 pound red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 4 cups low-salt chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon (I used chives, and think chervil, dill or even cilantro might be interesting)
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek yogurt because its what I have in the house)
Melt butter in large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add leeks, onions, garlic and 2 tablespoons water. Cook until leeks are golden, about 10 minutes. Add potatoes and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Mix in tarragon (or chives).
Stir in cream and yogurt. Season to taste with salt and pepper.