This was the first soup recipe I ever learnt to make, and
it showed me that soup is incredibly easy, cheap and healthy. Give it a go and
you’ll be hooked – what’s not to like?
A couple of pints of chicken stock
A couple of generous knobs of butter
This recipe turns out best when you make it nice and
slow, so start about an hour before you want to serve up, if you can. First of
all, peel and dice the onion, and get it sizzling in a good deep pan with a
generous knob of butter and a drizzle of olive oil. Slice the leeks and give
them a quick rinse in a sieve (there’s often a bit of dirt trapped in between
the layers – but at least that shows they’re real vegetables from a real
field!) and then add those once the onions have started to turn golden.
Finally, peel the potatoes and chop into rough chunks, and add them to the pan.
At this point, you’ll probably need to add a bit more butter and perhaps
another drizzle of olive oil too – you want to keep the vegetables nice and
moist. Stir gently until the potatoes start to turn a little fluffy on the
outside, and the leeks and onion become soft and golden.
Boil the kettle and make up a couple of pints of chicken
stock – my jug holds one pint, so I tend to make that, put it in, and then make
up more if needed. You want the liquid to cover the vegetables, so you’ll have
to use your judgement as to how much you need. Season really well, then put the
lid on and leave the whole thing to bubble for about three quarters of an hour.
When you’re ready, test the potatoes with a fork to make
sure that they’re cooked – they should fall apart easily when prodded. Take the
pan off the heat and blend until smooth – I use my hand blender for this,
because it means you can keep it in the same pan, and there’s just less faffing
Put the pan back on the heat and have a taste – you might
find at this point that you need more salt, since it will help punch up the
rich, buttery flavour of the leeks. Finally, if you want to make the whole
thing really luxurious, add a good dollop of crème fraiche or cream – I only
tend to do this if I have some hanging about in the fridge, but it does make
the whole thing fabulously rich.
Serve with your favourite cheese and some nice bread –
why not try some of those lovely rolls you can buy part-baked and then finish
off in the oven. Perfect for warming up on a cold, damp day!