I just did something sublimely soothing. I pulled out my Le Creuset dutch oven (I smile whenever I pull it down from the cabinet, and sometimes talk to it), and cooked with leeks for the first time. I've never had leeks, that I'm aware of; only seen them used on Food Network. I've heard tv chefs fawn over them, and have always wanted to try them out. Thank goodness I did, as they made my dinner, well, LBDelicious.
The soothing part of the night came from first rinsing them, cleaning them of any remaining sediment still in the layers of mellow, oniony goodness of the vegetable. Came second from using my super sharp chef's knife to slice them into thin half-moons. Came third from seeing a pat of butter and olive oil sizzling away in the aforementioned pot. And came fourth from eating big spoonfuls (right out of the simmering pot! I love cooking for this very reason) a potato soup that I finally got right.
It's the third time in my life I've tried to make potato soup. The first time was an epic fail. It was basically mashed potatoes (sorry, Rose; you lived through that one). The second time, it turned into gravy soup. Dave loved it; my arteries did not. This time, I didn't use bacon grease (although that's part of why Dave loved the gravy soup) and I didn't use any thickening agent. I Deee-lish. Here's the recipe.
about 1/2 tablespoon butter
about 1/2 tablespoon EVOO
4 leeks, sliced thinly up to the green part
about 2 -3 cups of leftover mashed potatoes
1/2 cup white wine
about 2 cups chicken broth
splash of 2% milk
salt & pepper, plenty of it
In a large stockpot/soup pot, heat butter and oil over medium high heat. Add leeks, salt & pepper. Sautee until cooked, about 7-8 minutes. Deglaze pan by pouring in wine, scraping up any browned bits that have collected on the bottom. Add chicken stock and leftover potatoes; salt & pepper again. Stir together. Add milk if you want a thinner consistency. Puree in food processor or blender to combine leeks with potatoes. Simmer about 15 minutes. Top with bacon, cheese, scallions, sour cream - whatever you want - to make it "loaded."
We ate this tonight with a piece of crusty French bread and some leftover ham, onion & asparagus frittata that I made earlier in the week. Yes, I usually have things like frittatas just laying around the house. Welcome to my life.
Next up: what to make for anniversary dinner? Our 4-year-dating anniversary is next week, and I always craft a special meal for the occasion. It will probably involve a really expensive cut of meat, and probably some sort of complicated cooking technique. And will definitely involve the bottle of Moet champagne I've been hanging on to for the occasion.