potato leek soup with cheddar and thyme

4:29:00 PM

I love leeks, and our CSA honored us with lots of cute little potatoes and a huge leek in the same week. Lack of creativity reared its ugly head and made me think of the obvious - potato leek soup. Bob isn’t a big soup fan, but the weather is getting cooler and I think Bob would eat anything if I served it next to some super fresh, delicious, Madison Sourdough Company bread.  (I’m also convinced that if you’re forced to eat at Olive Garden, the only thing worth getting is the soup, salad, and breadsticks. Mmm.) 

My favorite way to toast good bread is to chop up a couple cloves of garlic very finely and combine it with a tablespoon of melted butter or olive oil, plus a little bit of salt and pepper. I use a basting brush to spread the mixture on sliced bread and then broil it until it’s nice and golden. 

This would be great served with a salad with a simple balsamic vinaigrette. I served it with cooked greens because we had a bunch from our CSA - these were beet greens, mustard greens, and some spinach, just sautéed with some garlic, salt, and pepper. I value transparency so I’ll be honest: we both hated the beet greens. I hate wasting anything from our CSA, but they were just too bitter. Crossing those off our list of greens to try to save. Blech. 

So, here’s a delicious, quick fall recipe. You can’t go wrong with potatoes and cheese. 

Note: The garnish you see in my photos is leftover caramelized onions from another meal. I didn’t include the directions for those, but a quick Google search can teach you how to make them if you’ve never caramelized onions. This is a quick and easy meal that I wouldn’t normally caramelize onions for, but if you have any on hand (which is probably rare), feel free to add them!

potato leek soup with cheddar and thyme
serves 4-6 as a meal, more as an appetizer

1 tbsp butter or olive oil
1 large leek or 2 small/medium leeks
2 cloves of garlic, minced
about 4-5 smallish potatoes, cut into ½ inch chunks (about 4 cups worth)
4 cups broth (vegetable, chicken, beef, or mushroom)
2 tbsp stone-ground dijon mustard
about 4 oz super sharp cheddar cheese (the sharpest you can find), plus a little bit more for garnish
about 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, or to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Thinly slice the white and light green parts of the leeks and wash well. (I place mine in a colander after they’ve been sliced and rinse them under water. I find this much easier than trying to clean leeks when they’re whole.) 

Place a large pot over medium-high heat and melt the butter.  Add the leeks and saute about 5-10 minutes until softened and wilted. Season with salt and pepper, add the garlic, and cook a couple more minutes. Add the potatoes, broth, and mustard; stir well, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are very tender. 

Blend the soup. This is easiest with an immersion blender, but if you don’t have one, you can pour it into a regular blender (likely you’ll need to do this in batches.) If you use a regular blender, leave plenty of room, remove the centerpiece of the blender lid, and cover the hole in the blender lid with a towel so that the steam can escape. The consistency is up to you. 

Return soup to pot (if you used a regular blender), and add in the cheese, bit by bit, stirring constantly until it’s all melted. Add in all but a few of the thyme leaves, stirring well. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Ladle into bowls and top with remaining cheese and thyme leaves for garnish.

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