Potato Leek Soup

by Berck

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Use a lot more leeks than you can usually convince Jonah to buy. 8-12 leeks is a good start. I prefer to use only the white and white-green parts. If you move on to green-white it’s okay, but don’t use the green parts. They just tastes like grass. Slice the leeks thinly, and wash them. Wash them another several times. Wash them again, unless you like gritty soup.

Sautee them in butter and olive oil. I tend to measure butter in units of sticks. One stick is fine for this. You want some oil so the butter won’t burn/brown. I cook them on high heat for 10-15 minutes.

Peel and chop the desired amount of potatoes. Don’t over-potato your leeks. One large potato per leek, maybe? I prefer for the potatoes to be large bite-sized, which should still leave some big chunks after it disintegrates. I cook the potatoes with the leeks in the butter for awhile.

I like to add sliced garlic. It’s not necessary, but everything’s better with garlic. Toss it in when you’re basically done with the leeks and potatoes and cook until the garlic starts browning.

With the heat on high, add some vermouth, cheap white wine, or the alcohol of your choice. Let it bubble for a bit then add enough chicken stock until the potatoes are just covered in liquid.

Cook at a low simmer for an hour, with the lid covered. Longer is even better. When you’re about half an hour away from being ready to serve it, remove the cover, turn up the heat and reduce the liquid.

You want to boil down the liquid and you want the potatoes to mostly fall apart. I like it when there are still chunks of potatoes, but it’s also acceptable to run the whole thing through a ricer at this point if you want your soup to be smoooooth.

It’s important that you have a pretty thick thing going on, because then you need to add a bunch of milk and cream (or half and half). Add some milk/cream, stir, taste, correct for salt, repeat. Keep going until you get it where you want it. Boil briefly, reduce heat to low. Add freshly ground pepper. I usually add some pepper in the beginning and more just before I serve it. Potatoes are one of those things that really need more pepper than most people are willing to use.

Serve with crumbled bacon, plenty of high-quality cheese and sliced green onions.

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