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…