October 14, 2010

Lunch & Dinner - Potato Leek Soup

Total Prep Time: Approximately 2 hours
2 Vegetables & Fruit (1 cup soup)

Are you looking for the perfect soup to pack in your child's lunch?  How about warm, hearty potato leek soup!  It will warm your child's tummy, and give them energy to last them through the day.  It's the perfect 'leftover' lunch for school.  Fill a food container with the soup, pack a small piece of whole grain bread for dipping, and you will have a very happy camper at lunch time!

Although any stainless steel, BPA-free container will suffice for this hot lunch, I would suggest investing in a Thermos Brand food jar for hot lunches like soup, stew and chili.  They are BPA-free, come in many different styles and have an easy twist top for little hands to manipulate.  Their "Funtainer" line has coordinating lunchbags/hydration bottles/food jars which kids just love!

Now, back to the soup!  I had my first potato leek soup experience at the River Cafe in Puerto Vallarta - TO DIE FOR!  I have been hooked ever since!  I always wanted to make it at home, but was not impressed with the recipes that I found online or in my cook books.  Then one day, I came across a recipe on Martha Stewart's website and it's the only one that I make.  You can find the original recipe on the following link: http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/favorite-potato-leek-soup.  I'll give you my revised recipe, in which I've cut down the fat, added more vegetables and changed the flavour a bit.

Dinner guests have raved about it and my kids love it.  I wasn't sure if they would because the soup does contain a large amount of onions and leeks, but it was a big hit.  The creamy texture and layers of flavours make a perfect autumn meal.

Potato Leek Soup

2 dried bay leaves
2 tsp dried savoury
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
2 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp Becel margarine
4 stalks celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
6 leeks, white and light yellow parts only, washed well, thinly sliced
4 shallots, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large carrots or parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth, homemade or canned (use vegetable stock to make a vegetarian meal)
1 1/4 cups 1% milk
1/4 cup half & half cream
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

  1. Make a bouquet garni: First wrap bay leaves and pepper corns in a piece of cheesecloth.  Then tie with a piece of kitchen twine, set aside.  I use dried herbs (parsley and savoury) and add them straight to the soup.  I like seeing the herbs in the finished product. 
  2. Heat olive oil and margarine in a medium stockpot.  Add celery, leeks, shallots and garlic; cook on medium-low heat until very soft, about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Do not brown.
  3. Add stock, potatoes, carrots/parsnips, bouquet garni and other dried herbs.  Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer.  Cook until potatoes and carrots/parsnips are very tender, approx. 40 minutes.  Remove bouquet garni, and discard. 
  4. Add milk and cream, and blend soup in the cooking pot using a hand blender.  Make it completely smooth, or leave some chunks of vegetables.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  If you are using a counter-top blender, make sure that the soup has cooled to avoid burning yourself.  Emulsifying the soup with a blender is the key to a thick, creamy consistency.

Serves 6-8

Serve immediately with crusty bread and a salad.  Store in the refrigerator for up to three days.  The soup reheats very well on a stovetop or in the microwave.

Don't let homemade soup intimidate you.  It's a bit of work but totally worth it.  Add other root vegetables to increase the nutrients.  Change the flavours by adding your favourite herb, a sprinkle of bacon or pancetta, or some grated parmesan cheese.  Use the original recipe as a base, but use your creativity to make a soup to match your family's tastes.


Click here for a printable version of this recipe!


Lena! said...

Look delish! I am definitely going to try this - thanks for posting! On a soup kick now so I've been looking for new and yummy recipes :)

Shauna MacKenzie said...

I'm always on a soup kick :) I'll be posting many more this month that I grew up eating. Perfect dinner for the family and perfect lunch for the kiddies! Let me know how yours turns out. And thx again for the shout-out!