Potato Leek Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil or ¼ cup water (for water saute)
3 medium leeks (use white and light green parts only)
2 ½ lbs. potatoes, cubed ½ inch (peeled or with skin on)
1 bay leaf
1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme or Herbes de provence
4 cups water or low-sodium vegetable broth
salt, to taste
¼ cup chopped fresh herbs, to garnish
Prep: Leeks, start by removing and discarding the root ends and thick dark green parts. Cut the leeks in half lengthwise and rinse each half under cold water, pulling apart the layers to remove any sand or debris nestled inside, slice the leeks crosswise. Alternatively, slice the leeks, then put in a colander and wash well under running water. Should yield 4 – 5 cups. Cut potatoes into ½ inch cubes. Feel free to peel the potatoes or leave the skin on (I left the skin on).
Saute: In a large dutch oven or pot, heat the oil/water over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and wilted, about 10 minutes. Adjust the heat as necessary so as not to brown the leeks.
Simmer: Add the potatoes, broth, bay leaves, herbs, salt to pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer on low for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender.
Puree: Remove the bay leaves, and puree the soup using a hand-held immersion blender until smooth. Alternatively, use a regular blender to puree the soup in batches. Taste for seasoning.
Serve: Serve warm with chopped parsley and crusty bread
Store: Soup can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 week in an airtight container. It’s also freezer friendly and can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost the soup in the refrigerator for 12 hours or so and reheat on the stovetop over medium heat until warm.