On crisp winter days, there is nothing more satisfying to me than a warm bowl of soup. I think the best soups are those made with a few fresh quality ingredients, so when I found some nice organic leeks on sale at a local market, I picked up a couple for a batch of my potato-leek soup. I like the hearty creaminess that a pureed potato can contribute and the delicate flavor of a fresh leek. This soup makes for a simple but satisfying lunch on its own, or you can serve a small cup of it with a sandwich. You'll need about 10 minutes for preparation and another half hour for cooking, but it can easily be made ahead of time and warmed up for a quick lunch at home or at work.
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 leeks, halved length-wise, sliced into 1/2 inch slices, then thoroughly washed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, sliced
2 large or 4 small potatoes, cubed
2 cups chicken stock + additional stock or water as needed
1/2 teaspoon dried herbs de provence or Italian herb mixture
1 cup milk
In a 3 or 4 quart saucepan, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced leeks and cook until they begin to appear translucent. Add the garlic, then the carrot and potatoes. Finally add the chicken stock and the dried herbs. The stock should just cover the vegetables. Add a little more stock or water if necessary to cover. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes until the potatoes and carrots are fork-tender. Blend the soup until creamy using an immersion blender or in batches in a conventional blender. You can also just use a potato masher- your results will be less smooth and less refined, but you can just call it "rustic". Finally, add the cup of milk, salt and pepper to taste and serve.