When I think leek and potato soup, I have visions of a thick hearty smooth potato soup with leeks playing a quiet supporting role. So the first time I read Dorie Greenspan's recipe in Around My French Table, I immediately thought...hmm, that doesn't sound right. 7 cups of liquid for 3 leeks and 1 large potato led me to imagine a very thin broth. Sure the flavour is enriched by stock and milk but that's still a lot of liquid for very little thickening ingredients. I had a lot of doubt jumping into this recipe.
Despite my trepidation, I made the soup as directed using a mix of homemade capon stock, milk, and water. I was mildly surprised by the large pile of vegetable in the pot. Perhaps this soup would have some body after all. I carefully pureed everything in my food processor and ended up with a very smooth and creamy pale green soup. The soup was viscous enough to be elegant yet thick enough to feel substantial. I would not describe it as hearty nor potatoey. Rather, it tasted strongly of the aromatic leeks. Good thing I lucked out with some outstandingly fresh leeks from the farmers' market *!
While my tastebuds enjoyed the soup, the blogger/photographer in me began to frown. How do I made a bowl of creamy pale green soup look appetizing? It's so...one dimensional. The answer of course lies in the garnish. The recipe suggested croutons. I love the idea of soft boiled eggs and soldiers because the toasts were shaped for perfect dunkers. I splitted thin slices of whole wheat miche from a quarter loaf into halves so they were about the size of a biscotti (pictured were whole wheat sourdough I purchased from Le Pain Quotidien). Each slice of bread was topped with grated Comté cheese and toasted until golden. The cheesy toast was such a perfect match for the leek and potato soup. I liked it so much that I would in fact recommend making extras so people can enjoy more than two per bowl of soup. Garnish really should add to the overall taste of the dish than just to look pretty.
Other members of French Fridays with Dorie have been whipping up some great dishes too. Check them out!
* Encounter That Made My Day: I visited the farmers' market late in the day and asked for 3 leeks, 2 delicata squashes, and a bunch of kale. While I rummaged for money, the farmer asked me for my shopping bag and proceeded to fill it with another stalk of leek, a head of garlic, half dozen carrots, 3 potatoes, and 2 apples. I thanked him for his generousity and he said "you never know what you'll need when you're cooking". Awww, how sweet of him!