Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Potato Leek Soup

It's officially Fall, and if you know me, you know that I've kicked into soup mode... even if the Fall temperatures haven't quite hit FL yet. We've had a rainy, gloomy week and I've been sick... all good enough reasons for me to make this, a quick, creamy, warming soup that happens to be my son's favorite.  You really can pull this off in about 45 minutes, so it's definitely feasible for a weeknight... just serve with a tossed salad and some garlic bread or rolls. 

A little background on how I came up with this recipe:  A few years ago I took my son and his best friend to Epcot for my son's 17th birthday.  Toward the end of the day, the kids wanted one more ride on Soarin', but being MUCH older than they are, I just wanted to sit for a bit before the drive home.  While they hit the fast pass line I wandered over to Sunshine Seasons (the counter service restaurant in The Land pavilion) and found that one of the soups of the day was potato leek.  I ordered and sat down with this HUGE bowl of perfection... much much more than I expected from a counter service place.  The flavors were perfectly combined, yet still defined... it was creamy, but still a bit chunky to make it heartier than the potato leek soups I'd had before that were blended to death.  I found myself taking note of each flavor I could place... the brightness of thyme, the subtle bite of just the right amount of black pepper, slight sweetness of carrot, and a depth of flavor from chicken stock and cream sherry.  When I got home I checked all of my Disney cookbooks and online resources, but could only find the recipe from The Rose and Crown... which is good, but a bit more mild in flavor.  I started working on my own recipe and after several tries came up with this one.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!

2 Tbs butter
1 Tbs olive oil
3 leeks, chopped and washed well
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
1 finely minced shallot
4 cups chicken stock
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup cream sherry
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning
1 Tbs dried parsley
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
shredded Gruyere cheese for garnish (optional)

Saute leeks, celery, carrot, onion, garlic and shallot in butter and olive oil over medium low heat until vegetable are very tender.  Add chicken stock, sherry and potatoes;  bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until potatoes are very soft.  Mash potatoes with potato masher; add thyme, Tony Chachere's and parsley.  Simmer a few more minutes, stirring occasionally.  Puree soup with hand blender and add heavy cream.  Taste and season with salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper.

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