Thursday, September 25, 2014

An Old Leek and Potato Soup: TBT

ThrowBack Thursday: Old-timey recipes, modern kitchen
Image: TheGraphicsFairy

September 25, 2014  
An Old Leek and Potato Soup
From James Beard's American Cookery, ©1972

Soup weather has come to Wisconsin a bit early. Too soon to tell if it is here to stay, but what's not to love about a good soup?!

The recipe was almost too simple. I've made passable potato-leek soup before, but this one was more obviously leek-potato. Leeks, potato, broth. The veg from our CSA; spices from our favorite spice shop. The nutmeg was a surprise as was the cayenne. Roux thickened; no cream at all. 

Wonderful. Thick, creamy, leeky goodness. It must be the leek-to-potato ratio that makes it; far more leeks and fewer spuds than I have used before. I was surprised at the creaminess despite the lack of cream; using a roux in this way is something to try more often. Depending on the broth and fats you use, this could easily be made vegetarian if not vegan. 

Keeper. Hands down better than any more recent potato-leek soup recipe I've made. A perfect light supper with a side of cheese and crackers. 

Bowl fave: personal casserole with "ear" handles in navy glaze from ByBee Pottery

An Old Leek and Potato Soup
from James Beard's American Cookery©1972

5-6 small or 3 large leeks, white and pale green parts
3 tablespoons butter
3 cups diced peeled potatoes (Yukon Golds, or Reds)
1 quart broth (chicken or veggie)
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, or to taste
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour

Split the leeks lengthwise to rinse well, cut into slices. Heat butter in large stockpot; add leeks and sauté lightly until softening, 4-5 minutes. Add potatoes and broth; bring to boil. Turn heat down and simmer until potatoes are tender. Remove 1 to 1 1/2 cups liquid portion of soup. Purée remaining soup either in batches using a regular blender or right in the pot with an immersion blender. 

Make roux in separate small skillet: melt butter, add flour and mix well; stir for 1-2 minutes to cook flour and coat flour grains in fat. Add reserved broth slowly, whisking as you go to incorporate and prevent lumps. Cook for 2-3 minutes to thicken; add back to pureed soup. Add salt, cayenne, and nutmeg to taste. 

James Beard's American Cookery©1972

This cookbook is a soft cover edition from the first year, but I don't know if it counts as a "first edition." Not strictly old-timey, but at 40 years old it qualifies as antique in some circles. It was a gift during a past relationship, and most obviously the best thing to come of it.  

Throwback Thursdays features a recipe from an antiquey style cookbook. Hard to know what age to put on it, but you know an old-timey  one when you see it. I have at least 10 oldies now, a number which, being greater than 3, implies a collection. It also means they need their own shelf in the cookbook bookcase.

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