Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Julia Child's Leek and Potato Soup

How could I have missed it for so long! It's a recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking that isn't outdated (Aspics and Molds, 544-6), uses no extravagant ingredients (Foie Gras Stuffing with Prunes for Goose, 284), and does not involve cooking lettuce (Lettuce, Braised, 489). Also, it's the very first recipe in the book. It makes enough for 6-8 people, or for two people with some for the next day's lunch and some for the freezer. It's better on the second day. Julia Child calls for a bit of cream or butter, but I had some good milk in the fridge and used that instead with fine results. Julia Child also calls for peeling the potatoes, but that's just silly. Here's the basic recipe:

  • 1 pound potatoes, chopped
  • 1 pound thinly sliced leeks
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 tbs. salt
  • 1/3 cup whole milk or cream

Simmer the vegetables, water, and salt together, partially covered, for 40 to 50 minutes. Mash the vegetables with a potato masher (or fork, or food mill); don't puree it. Immediately before serving, add the milk (or just add a tablespoon or so to each bowl).

The recipe also calls for parsley or chives added at the very end, which I would have done if I had either. My mother likes to put cilantro in her leek and potato soup, which I also endorse. Julia Child mentions that you can add carrots, turnips, tomatoes, half-cooked dried beans, peas, or lentils with their cooking liquid at the beginning. You can also add cauliflower, cucumbers, broccoli, Lima beans, peas, string beans, okra, zucchini, shredded lettuce (oops!), spinach, sorrel, or cabbage after the soup is mashed, to be cooked for 10 minutes or so. I made my batch with some carrots and parsnips, even though parsnips aren't on this list. Deviation from a Julia Child recipe usually leads to ruination, but I got away with this one.


Seth said...

You like cooked lettuce!

Toby said...

But I like making fun of Julia Child more! (Though I only like it because it's easy, not because it's deserved.)