Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Potato and Leek Soup with Sausage

I have been reading my new vegetable cookbook again. Well, I didn't really stop, I have just been trying to take my time and savor each recipe and story as I make my way through it. It is so refreshing to read about cooking from the viewpoint of the home gardener, a union that is surprisingly rarely explored. I was reading, determining that I should try a new vegetable every couple of weeks or so, as I really don't use many of the Chinese vegetables, and quite a few roots I don't think I have even tried, when I stumbled upon something
I wanted to make right then. Potato and leek soup with sausage.
It uses mostly staples, with the addition of leeks and some cooked sausages. It sounded like a comforting dinner, hearty and satisfying, perfect for my busy Saturday. I was out grocery shopping anyway, so I picked up the few things I needed to complete the meal. I chose a Gruyere and garlic sausage, even though I know my husband would have loved a spicy Cajun sausage or perhaps some linguicia. The little boys don't like spicy stuff as much, so I try to take that into consideration.
The leeks cook slowly in some butter until they are soft. You steam the potatoes and celery for a bit, add the stock and cook until the potatoes are done, then you puree the whole thing in the blender, or, if you have a submersion blender, use that.
The result is an incredibly smooth, silky soup, that is not at all complex, but simple, and its simplicity is what seduces. The pale green soup smells of leeks, a faintly onion aroma, that is made for potatoes. The sausage is cooked separately and placed on top of the hot soup, greeted with a quiet sizzle as the two meet for the first time. I sprinkled some freshly grated cheddar on top, just because it sounded good at the moment.

Potato and Leek Soup with Sausage
Adapted from Tender

1 large leek
3 Tablespoons butter
4 medium celery ribs
3 large potatoes (russets)
6 1/2 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
1 small bunch parsley, chopped
4 large links sausage

Discard tough stems on leek, and wash, pulling the ribs apart and rinsing thoroughly. Thinly slice and add to a heavy bottomed pan along with the butter.
Cook over very low heat until the leeks are very soft, about 15 minutes. Be very careful that the leeks do not color while cooking.
Meanwhile, thinly slice the celery and peel and dice the potatoes. When the leeks are soft, add to the pot. steam for about ten minutes, until the vegetables are beginning to soften. Add the chicken stock and cover, simmering for about another twenty minutes, or until the potatoes are easily pierced with a knife.
Slice sausage and begin cooking as the potatoes are done. Transfer to a blender, 1/2 at a time and puree until smooth, or use a submersion blender. Grill the sausage until crispy.
Stir in chopped parsley. I think any cheese would be delicious on this, a soft goat cheese or a strong cheddar, grated and sprinkled on top before adding the sausage.

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