All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2018

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

potage parmentier: leek and potato soup with fresh chives

Hurray for Spring! When a friend offered me some fresh chives from her garden, I showed up the next morning with scissors in hand. My own pitiful chive plants were still too small to cut, so I was delighted to see her exhuberant plants nearly ready to bloom.

A peek in the fridge showed the last of the leeks and those lovely baby potatoes, so on we go to the traditional leek and potato soup ( or potage parmentier) with the first fresh shower of chives sprinkled on top. My soup is not pure white, as is usual, since I don't bother peeling the baby potatoes - there wouldn't be much potato left if I did. And I do use a little of the pale green leek when making the soup, so if you want a very white soup, stick to just using the white parts. Sometimes I even add several teaspoons of minced chives when I puree the soup, which makes it even more green ( see above), but the chive/oniony flavor is more pronounced done that way. So I stick to a little sprinkle of chives on top, and pass the little dish of minced chives for those who want a more intense chive flavor. And to celebrate the huge spread of violets over the lawn, I added those pretty little flowers to each plate.

To make 4 servings:

2 cups washed and sliced leeks

Trim each leek, then cut into 4 inch pieces. Cut the pieces lengthwise, and rinse under running water to get the sand and dirt out. When clean, cut the leeks into 1 1/2 inch pieces and continue with recipe.

2 cups sliced baby potatoes

4 cups light chicken or vegetable stock

1 t. thyme

1 t. unsalted butter

1/2 t. kosher salt

Place the leeks and potatoes in a pot, and add the stock, thyme, butter, and salt. Bring to a boil, turn down to low, and cover with a lid slightly askew, so some of the steam escapes. Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Let the soup cool a little, then use an immersion blender or a regular blender. If you use a regular blender, fill the blender only halfway and puree carefully, then do the next batch. When it's hot, you're liable to get a little messy explosion of soup.

To finish:

3 T. or so of finely minced chives for sprinkling

1/2 cup medium cream

kosher salt to taste

a pinch more of thyme if desired

Potage Parmentier is meant to be served warm - if you serve it at room temperature or chilled, it is then called Vichyssoise.

Serve with a nice fresh arugula & violet flower salad . Just make sure the violets aren't growing on a chemically treated lawn, and no cute little puppies have been watering the lawn:)


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