Friday, January 25, 2013

You Say Potato, I Say Leeks

Another vegetable we were lucky enough to receive through our One Straw Farm Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) this fall was leeks. While I used the mild, onion-flavored vegetable in a variety of dishes, my favorite recipes were the Roasted Potato Leek Soup below and "Rocket Pie" (recipe to be posted at a later date).

A Leek Cultural Connection:
  • Due to my Welsh heritage, I was happy to learn the leek is one of the national emblems of Wales, traditionally worn along with the daffodil on St. David’s Day.
  • Legend has it that King Cadwaladr of Gwynedd had his soldiers identify themselves by wearing the vegetable on their helmets in battle.
  • In Shakespeare's Henry V, Henry tells Fluellen (a Welsh captain) that he is wearing a leek “for I am Welsh, you know, good countryman.”
Photograph via Instagram (copyright illegibleink)
Recipe: Roasted Potato Leek Soup
adapted from Ina Garten, Back to Basics

  • 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 4 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts, cleaned of all sand (This means you will need approximately 4 leeks.)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups baby arugula, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, plus extra for serving (As I mentioned in a previous recipe post, when using wine in my recipes I rely on what was served or sold the prior day. For this particular recipe I used Essay's Chenin Blanc. Heck, even Robert Parker gave it a good review so make sure you plan ahead and drink a glass while you're cooking!)
  • 6 to 7 cups chicken stock (Ina Garten recommends using homemade stock but as you can see below, I cheated with Swanson chicken broth. You could also easily substitute vegetable broth. I actually prefer to mix a little vegetable in with my chicken broth.)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces crème fraîche
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan (Save some extra for garnish.)
  • Crispy Prosciutto (Ina Garten recommends using Crispy Shallots - a great alternative for my vegetarian friends. We had leftover prosciutto that I wanted to use up so I heated some oil on medium and crisped up the prosciutto to use as a garnish.)
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Combine the potatoes and leeks on a sheet pan in a single layer. Add the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss to coat the vegetables evenly. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes, turning them with a spatula a few times during cooking, until very tender. Add the arugula and toss to combine. Roast for 4 to 5 more minutes, until the arugula is wilted. Remove the pan from the oven and place over 2 burners. Stir in the wine and 1 cup of the chicken stock and cook over low heat, scraping up any crispy roasted bits sticking to the pan.
Photograph via Instagram (copyright illegibleink)
3. In batches, transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor fitted with the steel blade, adding the pan liquid and about 5 cups of the chicken stock to make a puree. Pour the puree into a large pot or Dutch oven. Continue to puree the vegetables in batches until they're all done and combined in the large pot. Add enough of the remaining 1 to 2 cups of stock to make a thick soup. Add the cream, creme fraiche, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and check the seasonings

4. When ready to serve, reheat the soup gently and whisk in 2 tablespoons white wine and 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Serve hot with an extra grating of Parmesan. If using, top with crispy prosciutto.
Photograph via Instagram (copyright illegibleink)

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