Monday, December 20, 2010

Blue Potato and Leek Soup (Vegan + Cheese)

Last winter, I got a few pounds of blue potatoes in my Boston Organics shipments. They were delicious, but a few went past their prime before I had time to cook them. Determined not to let them go to waste, I studied up and figured out how to plant them. Fast forward a few months, and I had a full harvest Somerville-grown Blue Potatoes! Fresh potatoes store well for months in the right conditions (cool, dry, and dark), so I decided to save most of my harvest for a chilly winter evening, envisioning a beautiful BLUE potato and leek soup!

The soup was warm and deliciously filling, but it didn't exactly turn out blue. Nonetheless, here is the recipe:

2 tb Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2-3 leeks, white & light green parts, chopped and rinsed thoroughly
1 cup celery*, rinsed and chopped
1 medium carrot, rinsed and chopped
1 tsp red peper flakes (optional)
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tb dry sherry
1 liter box of low-sodium vegetable broth
1 lb (blue) potatoes, scrubbed or peeled and chopped
1 - 2 tb fresh parsley, chopped
1 - 2 tb fresh dill, chopped
kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Saute the leeks, celery, and carrot in the olive oil over medium for about 10 minutes, or until the softened. (Tip: Keep the pot covered when sauteeing veggies for soup. It locks in the moisture and speeds up the softening.) Add the garlic and some salt and pepper and saute for another 5 minutes. Turn heat to high, deglaze the pan with the dry sherry, pour in the broth and cover. Bring to a boil and add the potatoes. Make sure there's enough liquid in the pot to cover the veggies. If not, add more broth and/or water. Cover and return to a boil. 

Gently boil for about 10 minutes, then lower heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes or more (30 is the minimum to cook the potatoes through, but the longer you cook it for, the more time the flavors have to get to know each other). Add the fresh herbs toward the end of your cooking (maximizes flavor and nutritional value). Blend with an immersion blender or in batches in your blender (or don't blend at all if you prefer a thinner chunky soup!).

Finish with freshly ground black pepper to taste and top with a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a dollop of Greek yogurt, or a small handful of freshly shredded cheddar (or all 3!).Enjoy!

*Celery is one of the "Dirty Dozen." Buy it Organic or you'll end up ingesting a large side of pesticides with your otherwise healthy veggie! For the full, dirty dozen list in a convenient pocket-sized printable PDF, click here. (courtesy of the Environmental Working Group)