All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2025

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

julia's leek and potato soup: potage parmentier

I was thumbing through Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1 this morning and got the surprise of my life. The Potage Parmentier I've been making all along, thinking it was still Julia's recipe, has undergone some fairly radical changes over the years.
First of all, she adds no extra herbs to the basic leek and potato soup base - and no stock, either. So all this time, I've been loading the potage with the potent aroma of my favorite herb, thyme. And enriching it with chicken stock AND butter.
No matter: both are wonderful soups! There may be times when you want your Leek and Potato with few seasonings, and others when you prefer a richer bowl .
From Mastering the Art of French Cooking:
1 lb ( 3-4 cups) peeled and diced or sliced boiling potatoes
1 lb (3 cups) washed and sliced leek whites, with a little of the tender green
(by the way, leeks lately have been sandy, so slice the leeks down the middle, fan them out, and rinse well under running water)
2 quarts of water
1 T. salt
Simmer the vegetables in the water and salt for about 40 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and soft. Mash with a fork or pass the soup through a food mill. Just before serving add:
4-6 T. whipping cream or 2-3 T. soft butter
2-3 T. minced parsley or chives
My version:
1 1/2 cups peeled, sliced white potatoes
1 1/2 cups sliced leeks, well washed, whites only
2 cups light vegetable or chicken stock
2 cups water
1 1/2 t. thyme
Simmer vegetables in the light stock and thyme until soft.
Using an immersion blender stick, puree the soup until smooth.
about 1/3 cup light cream
1 T. unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste
Serve with a sprinkle of chives, finely sliced scallions ( green onions), or a stick of trimmed scallions, or some chopped parsley.
Featured on TasteSpotting!


Amanda said...

I keep meaning to try this, sounds so good!

katrina said...

Oh, I hope you do, Amanda! It's just perfect for lunch OR dinner - and it goes so beautifully with meats or chicken dishes. And you can't beat the simplicity of either recipe!

Martha said...

I bought some leeks before we left just for this soup but haven't made it yet . . . . next cold day -- interesting for I thought Julia's would have had more "oomph"?

katrina said...

I know, Martha. But there's nothing wrong with a nice, classic, and soothing soup like her original - it's just funny that all this time I thought I was making "her" soup. Though, *ahem*, I do love this with thyme!

La Table De Nana said...

Sublimely simple:) I just read My Life In France..

I love her:)

That book you have is next on my list:)


katrina said...

Ohhh, Nana - I love her , too! I met her once and nearly fainted. It was only after reading Appetite for Life ( a biography of her) that I realized how much incredible work had gone into the books. What a woman!

Chef Fresco said...

That looks very tasty! I need to cook w. leeks more often!

Sophie Sportende Foodie said...

Your soup looks excellent to me!!

This soup is also a typical Classic Belgian soup!

katrina said...

Thank you, Chefs. Leeks are WONDERFUL! I'm still trying to come up with a recipe for a leek "brulee" or mousse that would spotlight the subtle flavor of leeks -

katrina said...

I didn't know that, Sophie - but it doesn't surprise me!

Michelle said...

What a beautiful soup and so typical for Julia!

katrina said...

True, Michelle - Julia was, in her first book, simply reporting the "true" French cooking that was out there. Forget the craving for thyme and butter, this was the simple merging of leeks and potatoes the US was not familiar with. So blessings on Julia, and - hurrah for potage parmentier!