Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Roasted Potato, Leek and Arugula Soup

Roasted Potato, Leek and Arugula Soup

Serves: 6-8
Roasted Potato, Leek and Arugula Soup
Every year around this time – well into the winter season, but long after we found it charmingly brisk – we get some sort of cold snap. Yes, a cold snap even in sunny Southern California. This year is no different. I was listening to the weather report when they were amused by the fact that it was 40 degrees colder in San Diego on this January day than it was in Chicago! That day, that chilly chilly frosty day, when I walk outside on that first 30-degree day, hear the Chicago weather report, and utter in disbelief, “WHAT THE WHAT?”

Weeks like this require ones own family-friendly elixir comfort food. Its soup – hands down!  Not a thin runny soup but one you can really roll around in your mouth and even gives it a bit of a chew. This soup is hearty and intense and absolutely the best remedy for a brittle, cold winter day – a meal in a bowl that also leaves your home smelling amazing.
  • 2 lbs Yukon gold potatoes, peeled & cut into ¾ inch chunks
  • 4 C chopped leeks, white & light green parts, cleaned of all dirt (about 4 leeks)
  • ¼ C extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 C baby arugula, lightly packed
  • ½ C dry white wine, plus extra for serving
  • 6-7 C chicken or vegetable stock
  • ½ - ¾ C heavy cream
  • 8 ounces crème fraiche
  • ¼ C freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnish
  • Crispy Shallots, recipe follows, optional garnish

Chopping the leeks
Preheat the oven to 400 degree F. Combine the potatoes and leeks on a sheet pan in a single layer. Add the olive oil, 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper and toss to coat the vegetables evenly. Roast for 40-45 minutes, turning them with a spatula a few times during cooking, until very tender. Add the arugula and toss to combine. Roast for 4-5 more minutes, until the arugula is wilted. Remove the pan from the oven and place over 2 burners. Stir in the wine and 1 C of the chicken stock and cook over low heat, scraping up any crispy roasted bits that stick to the pan.
Adding the potatoes
Roasted leeks and potatoes

Now with the arugula
In batches, transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor or blender, adding the pan liquid and about 5 C of the chicken or vegetable stock to make a puree. Pour the puree into a large pot or Dutch oven. Continue to puree the vegetables in batches until they’re all done and combined in the large pot. Add enough of the remaining 1-2 C stock to make a thick soup. Add the cream, cream fraiche, 2-3 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper and check for seasoning.

When ready to serve, reheat gently and whisk in 2 Tb white wine and ¼ C Parmesan.  Serve hot with an extra grating of Parmesan and crispy shallots, if using.

Crispy Shallots
  • 1½ C olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 3 Tb unsalted butter
  • 6 shallots, peeled and sliced into thin rings
Heat the oil and butter in a pan over medium-high heat until it reaches 220-degree F on a candy thermometer. Reduce the heat to low, add the shallots, and cook for 30 minutes, until they are a rich golden brown. The temperature should stay below 260-degree F. Stir the shallots occasionally to make sure they brown evenly. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon, drain well, and spread out to cool on paper towels. Once they have dried and crisped, they can be stored at room temperature, covered, for several days.

Frying the shallots

Crispy shallots

Try this warm soup for a quick weeknight meal with bread and salad, or dress it up for company with crisp bacon or cheesy croutons. I am serving it here with crispy shallots, which adds a whollop of flavor as well as crunch to your bite.  No matter what you serve with this hearty soup, you and your family will love it and ask for more.

Bon Appetit!


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