Saturday, June 7, 2014

Pay It Forward--Leek and Potato Soup

After a month of eating many many spicy curries, I think I need a break! Think???? I know I need a change. Something light, a dish that coats the tongue but doesn't assault the senses. Don't get me wrong, I love Indian food, especially when it's lovingly prepared by people I care about. The month long visit is filled with dinner invitations, resulting in parcels of potato cutlets, a basket of targolas (SEE BELOW), Sindhi kadhi to die for, deliciously glutinous paya, new-wave Indian food, coal-smoked chicken tikka, amazing filter coffee, bushels of mangoes and mango derived kulfi, aamrus, kheer..Most of all it is the love I feel when I am with family and friends. It is unconditional, unreserved and to me, an embarrassment of riches.

Coal-smoked Chicken Tikka
 Filter coffee South Indian Style

But I'm back, jumping into the deep end, having I have missed my kitchen palpably. It is a splendid day, with bright sunshine and cool breezes. A perfect day to make soup. My friend is back from the hospital and I think she and the family will benefit from a bowl of comfort. The trip to the market yields a bunch of leeks. And potatoes are the first item I buy. A bowl of puréed leek and potato with snips of chive should revive the spirit.

Cleaning leeks is generally tiresome. You cut them in half and rinse them well under running water to remove the grit. Thinly sliced, they go into foaming butter for a quick sauté. Sliced potatoes are added along with chicken broth and seasonings and the soup simmers. An immersion blender does the trick. Chives from the garden garnish the purée and the soup is ready to be delivered.

Serves 6

3 large Leeks
3 large Potatoes
2 tablespoons Butter
6 cups Chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
A few grinds of Black Pepper
1/2 cup Milk or Cream
2 tablespoons chopped Chives

Trim leeks by cutting off the dark green leaves and root ends. Cut leeks in half lenghtwise and rinse well under running water to remove all sand and grit. Thinly slice the leeks.

Peel, wash and thinly slice potatoes.

Heat the butter in a large saucepan.

When butter starts foaming, add the leeks and sauté for a few minutes.

Add potatoes, chicken stock and seasonings. Stir well and bring to boil.

Lower heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove the lid and and stir the soup to break up potatoes. 

Puree the soup using a blender or immersion blender. It should be smooth and creamy.

Place the soup pot on a medium flame and let simmer.

Add milk or cream and mix well. 

Let the soup bubble for 5 minutes, garnish with chopped chives and serve hot. 

The soup could also be served cold but then I would have to call it vichyssoise!!

A brown bag sits on my friends doorstep, waiting for her to return home. It makes me feel good to deliver the soup. Pay it forward, if you may. For the past month, so many people have cooked for me, fed me, wined and dined me. Thank you Prassy, Pam, Dilnaz, Ambi, Scherize, Divya, Annabelle, Prabha, Gopal, Ajit, Netra, Sanju, Neelu, Falguni , Chris, Audrey... The list is unending. Here's to some kind of reciprocity, albeit with some soup. As my friend kindly put it...Loving Spoonful!!!