February 25th, 2012
Since it quite cold out, there’s still room for a few more hearty soup recipes. The name soup comes from vulgar Latin (suppa – bread soaked in broth) which by the Sixteenth century had become soupe (in France), a broth which was marketed as, “An antidote to exhaustion”. Soups were sold in restaurants, where one would go to be restored.
I started out intending to make a simple leek and potato soup with chicken stock and cream, but I realised I had a roast chicken breast that needed eating, so it ended up in the pot, along with some mushrooms. You could leave it out and have more traditional soup or even swap chicken stock for vegetable to make it vegetarian.
Leek and Potato Soup recipe (serves 3 – 4):
1 pint of homemade chicken stock (see my recipe)
1 chicken breast (chopped)
2 leeks (chopped)
2 carrots (chopped)
2 medium sized potatoes (cubed)
6 mushrooms (chopped)
6 pieces of garlic (finely chopped)
a bouquet garni
a splash of dry white wine or dry vermouth (optional)
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
a knob of butter
extra virgin olive oil
Melt a knob of butter with a little olive oil in a cast iron casserole. Fry the leeks for a minute or two before adding the carrots.
The garlic and mushrooms go in next and once the mushrooms have been coated in oil,
stir in the chunks of potato.
Pour on the chicken stock, drop the bouquet garni in and bring the contents of the casserole up to a simmer. Put the lid on the casserole and cook the soup in a preheated oven at 100º C for an hour. You could do it on the stove, but slow cooking in the oven means that it can be left unattended without stirring or sticking.
When done, remove the bouquet garni and allow the soup to cool down a little. Skim off any fat that settles on top and do taste to make sure that the seasoning is right.
The vegetables should be quite soft after an hour of cooking so either give the chunks a whizz in a food processor or squash them with a potato masher to thicken the soup. At this stage you could deviate and add some cream to the soup, like a traditional recipe.
I chopped up my chicken breast and stirred it in with the gas on low to heat up the soup. Add a optional splash of wine or dry vermouth now for a little extra flavour.
Once the chicken has had time to absorb the soup flavour, adjust the seasoning to taste and serve with a drizzle of olive oil.
I ate my soup with croutons, which is probably overdoing it a bit, since it’s already thick, but I had lots of stale bread and the oven was on…
Mmmm, i’m sat out on an oil rig in the cold north sea, and this looks like it would warm me up a treat, love croutons too, so no complaints from me on these.
Wow – I’d send some up to you if there was a chopper handy 😉
That is a very, very superior leek and potato soup (which can sometimes be a bit dull…but not yours!). Love the history and I am sure I would feel totally restored after a bowl of this. We have been digging the veggie patch today (I use the word “we” loosely…I watched!) and dug up all the overgrown celery. I rescued all the tender shoots in the middle and I think I´ll take your soup as inspiration for a version tomorrow!
Thanks, it was certainly very filling 😉
Well done Big Man – he deserves restoration and a drink!
This looks so good! Great idea finishing it off with a splash of Vermouth. Funny how an addition at the end of the cooking process can do so much for the dish, isn’t it? And in my humble opinion, no soup is too thick for croutons. They, too, bring another element to the soup — the crunch — and I like that!
Thanks John and the great thing about croutons is that it’s easy to make a mountain of them and freeze them. They can be brought back to life in about 2 minutes, from frozen, in a hot frying pan. That, of course, is if I stop myself eating the whole tray of croutons before I get them into the freezer.
Looks hearty and satisfying. No ingredients on hand to make this today but we had snow this morning when we awakened. Maybe will venture to the store tomorrow.
Wow, more snow – good soup weather 😉
No complaints from me. I always finish off my risottos with a splash of vermouth. I’ll hang on to your recipes until it’s soup weather here in Sydney – it’s a little hot for it at the moment.
Thanks Charlie 😉
Another triumph to bring more life to a traditional dish!
Oh that looks so hearty, I actually wouldn’t mind eating it before it’s blitzed in the food processor… bit of a chunky eater here 🙂 either way, I’m sure it tastes fantastic!
There always is that dilemma with soup – thick or thin 😉
As I scrolled down this soup seemed to get better and better! I love the idea of adding the chicken pieces and, definitely, a dash of vermouth would be great, and I love croutons too…..perfect!
Thanks – I think I might have to make some giant croutons as snacks soon – they are quite addictive!
A hearty soup does have restorative powers especially in the cold weather. I think soups always evolve around what we happen to have on hand. Your soup sounds delicious…the vermouth at the end livening up the flavor.
Thanks Karen 😉
It’s quite warm out and I still want this!
It’s getting hot here too, but I think there’s room for a few more soups and spicy casseroles 😉
Mmm, one for me – I’l just ignore the chicken part (and the vermouth, sadly)! Hopefully I can get the consistency right – my soups (or “cremas” as they call them here) are always either too runny or too gloopy, and my kids won’t touch them. They eat them happily at school and mil’s, so that’s my challenge!
It’s very easy to make without chicken and in terms of consistency it’s quite precise – so it should work for you (fingers crossed) 😉