This Leek and Potato Soup is a lovely, simple traditional soup. It is warming and hearty with a mild onion flavour. The potatoes thicken the soup without making it too heavy. It is filling enough to serve as a light lunch with some good bread but it can also be served as a starter for a more formal meal.
It is a truly versatile soup because it can be eaten either hot or cold. The cold version is similar to the French cold soup Vichyssoise which is generally made with chicken stock. This means that it is a soup for all seasons. It will warm you up in winter and cool you down in summer! If you are serving it cold, you need to allow it to cool down to room temperature after you have made it. Then put it in the fridge for at least two hours – ideally overnight – to ensure that it is properly chilled.
I like to stir a little cream into the finished soup and top it off with some fresh chives. Neither are essential. The soup will taste good without these additions if you do not wish to include them.
What you need to know about making Leek and Potato Soup
You must cook the leeks and onions slowly to allow them to sweeten and soften without burning. Don’t try and rush this stage. This slow gentle cooking is what will give your soup its extra-special flavour.
A good quality stock is essential. This will give your soup depth of flavour. You can use either vegetarian stock or meat-based stock. If you have home-made stock, either vegetarian or meat-based, so much the better. I sometimes use home-made chicken stock or the cooking juices from a boiled ham. Both go well as a basis for this soup. You can use stock-cubes or powder to make the stock if you do not have any home-made stock to hand. If so, try and use a good quality brand.
This soup is vegetarian if you use a vegetable-based stock. You can make a vegan version by substituting the butter for an extra tablespoon of oil and omitting the cream.
This soup can be made in advance and then reheated. It also freezes well and can be kept in the freezer for at least 6 months.
This is a really easy soup which can be eaten either hot or cold. Although it uses relatively cheap ingredients, the soup is elegant and flavourful and is not out of place as a first course at a dinner party.
2 onions (I use white onions to keep the colour of the final soup pale)
2 large potatoes (about 500 g or 1 lb)
50 g (2 oz) butter
1 tablespoon oil
1 litre (2 pints) good quality stock
A bunch of fresh chives
A little double cream (optional)
Wash the leeks, trim off the dark top parts of the leaves and chop the stalks roughly. Peel and chop the onions.
Heat the butter and the oil in your saucepan. Add the chopped leeks and onions, season them with salt and pepper, and very gently fry them for around 20 minutes until they are soft and sweet. It is really important to add seasoning at this point and to cook gently to bring out the flavour of the vegetables – it will make a huge difference to the taste of your soup.
Next, peel and chop the potatoes and add them to the saucepan with the leeks and onions. Cook gently for a few minutes.
Add the stock to your saucepan and simmer the vegetables gently for about 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat and allow the soup to cool slightly before blending.
Roast Chicken with Garlic, Lemon and Thyme and Dauphinoise Potatoes
Roast Chicken with Garlic, Lemon and Thyme, together with my healthier version of Dauphinoise Potatoes, make a fantastic and easy Sunday lunch.
The chicken will be very garlicky, with the flavour enhanced by the lemon and thyme. I have toned down the garlic in the Dauphinoise potatotes but feel free to increase it if you are feeding lots of garlic lovers! Dauphinoise Potatoes make a great accompaniment to roast meat but also are popular with vegetarians. Soft potatoes, flavoured with thyme and garlic, with a crispy top – who wouldn’t want this with their Sunday lunch?
My version is a lighter, and healthier, version of the traditional recipe for Dauphinoise potatoes which uses cream (or a mix of milk and cream). I just use milk as I find the traditional version is too rich and heavy. The milk gets absorbed by the potatoes, along with the flavours of the garlic and thyme. When people eat this dish, they often think that there is cheese included, although there isn’t, because of the way the milk reduces. This is also a very accommodating dish as it is made in advance and it is happy sitting in a warm oven if more time is needed for other elements of your meal.
Crispy-skinned roast chicken, flavoured with garlic, lemon and thyme – who wouldn’t want this for Sunday lunch?
Sprig of thyme
4 cloves of garlic (crushed)
125 g butter (softened)
Salt and pepper
Set your oven to 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4.
Remove the thyme leaves from the woody stems (keep the stems) and put them in a small bowl. Add the grated zest of your lemon along with the crushed garlic. Put your softened butter into the bowl and mash to combine with the other ingredients. Season with salt and pepper.
Loosen the skin on your chicken’s breast by gently pushing your fingers under it. Push half of the flavoured butter under the skin. Smear the other half of the butter all over the chicken.
Quarter your zested lemon and put this in the chicken’s cavity along with the thyme stems.
Place your chicken in the roasting pan and cover with foil.
Place your chicken in the oven. The time that it will take to roast will depend on its size but will probably be between one and a half and two hours. Remove the foil for the last 30 minutes of cooking time.
When it is done, remove the chicken from the roasting pan and put it on a warm plate, covered with foil, to rest for 10 minutes.
If you want gravy, you can use the following method. Pour the juices from the roasting pan into a measuring jug or similar container. The juices will settle within a minute or so with the fat rising to the surface. Take two tablespoons of the fat and return them to the roasting pan. Add two tablespoons of plain flour. Stir together and cook over a low heat for a few minutes. Add the rest of the chicken juices to the roasting pan together with some hot water (either from the kettle or water used to cook vegetables is great). Allow to bubble for a few minutes and then pour into a gravy boat or jug to serve.
Crisp on the top, soft and creamy underneath, and flavoured with garlic and thyme, these potatoes are fantastic with roast meat or grilled fish.
1 kilo potatoes
Sprig of thyme
1 clove of garlic
500 ml milk
Salt and pepper
Set your oven to 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4.
Butter the oven-proof dish
Peel and slice the potatoes thinly into disks
Put a layer of potato disks in the dish. Dot with knobs of butter. Season with salt and pepper – it is really important to season every layer. Sprinkle with a few thyme leaves and a little crushed garlic. I prefer this dish to have a whisper of garlic so only use one clove throughout but feel free to increase the amount of garlic if you like!
Repeat step 3 until the dish is filled.
Pour the milk into the dish.
Put the dish into your oven and cook for around 1 hour. At the end of this time, the potatoes should be soft, and most of the milk should have been absorbed, and the top should be crisp and golden.
Keywords: dauphinoise potatoes, garlic potatoes
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