March, in like lion and out like a lamb. This year, like many, has actually proved this to be true. Despite the recent multiple Nor’easters, I think winter has finally left.
March is such a fickle month with its snow and ice, mud and rain. It just doesn’t know what it wants to be. Being my birth month, I feel a certain kinship towards it. Yes, March is the dregs of winter and most people would rather just skip it all together, but March can also bring the best of two seasons: The end of winter in all it’s glory and the very beginning of spring. You emerge at the end of the month in amazement. Is the winter actually ending? Did we make it?
The other day I was thinking about what my favourite season is and I realized it was spring. I feel all seasons have something wonderful to offer, but if I were pressed on what my favourite was, I would have to say spring. The pure hope that spring gives, the hope after a long winter when essentially everything dies and comes back to life. Well, how can that not be hopeful… to anybody?
This soup I feel is the perfect March soup. Potatoes are typically a symbol of winter and leeks a symbol of spring. A soup that can be served hot or cold, to match whatever the weather is doing. It is simple and cozy, perfect to make a batch of on a lazy afternoon.
This recipe is actually for a classic vichyssoise. As far as i can gather, vichyssoise is just potoato leek soup with cream. (Some add milk, but cream is more traditional) Vichyssoise can be served hot some say, though I have never seen it hot. You want to serve it cold. Vichyssoise is cold, potato leek soup is hot.
Leeks take a bit of care while prepping and cleaning. They tend to hold on to their grit and you must carefully wash them. The easiest way is to slice the leeks (just the white and light green part) and then put them in a large bowl full of cold water. Separate all the rings of leeks and let them soak after agitating the water a few times. Any sand or grit will fall to the bottom of the bowl. Once they have soaked, scoop up with a slotted spoon leaving the water in the bowl behind. Drain. Leeks are ready to be cooked! So let's get cooking.
Happy Spring. Enjoy.
Potato Leek Soup
3 large cleaned leeks, 4 1/2 cups chopped (the light green and white parts)
4 cups sliced peeled Yukon gold potatoes (about 3 medium)
6 cups chicken broth
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ -1 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper
Crumbled cooked bacon or snipped chives (optional)
To clean: Chop leeks and add to a large bowl of cold water. Push leeks around and separate pieces. The dirt should fall to the bottom of the bowl. Scoop up leeks with your hands or a slotted spoon and drain in colander.
In a large saucepan or pot, sauté leeks on medium to medium-low heat until leeks are just getting tender. Try not to have the leeks pick up any colour.
Add the six cups of chicken broth and sliced potatoes.
Bring to a boil and simmer potatoes until tender.
The soup is ready to be blended.
The safest way to do this is with an immersion blender. Or you can cool the mixture and working in small batches, blend in a blender.
If you are blending in a blender you want to keep the hole in the blender top open. Place a clean dishtowel over the hole. This will allow the steam to escape and prevent the soup from blowing up in your face. (Seriously) If you are worried about this, let your soup mixture cool completely before blending.
Once blended, you have potato leek soup! (And it’s quite delicious at this point.)
You can stop here or add the blended soup to a clean pot and add ¾-1 cup of heavy cream. (You should definitely add the cream)
Oooh, that’s good.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Heat and serve or serve cold. If heated, serve with some crumbled bacon. If served cold, serve with snipped chives.