Roasted Potato and Leek Soup

IG-LeekSoupIna Garten, aka the “Barefoot Contessa,” is one of our favorite resources for tasty recipes. As this winter never seems to want to end, we decided to seek out a hearty soup recipe with a taste profile that is a bit out of the ordinary.  Ina is usually a good resource to consult.  We came up with this soothing and very tasty recipe for potato and leek soup.  Enjoy.

Found below is Ina Garten’s Roasted Potato and Leek Soup recipe from her Back to Basics cookbook.

Roasted Potato and Leek Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 4 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts, cleaned of all sand (4 leeks)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups baby arugula, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, plus extra for serving
  • 6 to 7 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces creme fraiche
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnish
  • Crispy Shallots, recipe follows, optional

Crispy Shallots:

  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 to 6 shallots, peeled and sliced into thin rings

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Combine the potatoes and leeks on a sheet pan in a single layer. Add the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss to coat the vegetables evenly. Roast for 40 to 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 to 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 cup of the chicken stock and cook over low heat, scraping up any crispy roasted bits sticking to the pan.
  • In batches, transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor fitted with the steel blade, adding the pan liquid and about 5 cups of the chicken 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 to 2 cups of stock to make a thick soup.
  • Add the cream, creme fraiche, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and check the seasonings.

When ready to serve, reheat the soup gently and whisk in 2 tablespoons white wine and 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Serve hot with an extra grating of Parmesan and crispy shallots, if using.

Crispy Shallots:

Heat the oil and butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat until it reaches 220 degrees F on a candy thermometer.

Reduce the heat to low, add the shallots, and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, until they are a rich golden brown. The temperature should stay below 260 degrees 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.

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Pheasant Soup ala Therese

Pheasant SoupThérèse is in the Christmas spirit and I have prevailed on her to share this delightful recipe for Pheasant soup.   This hearty and warming soup is particularly appropriate for the holiday season.   This variation comes from an amalgamation of recipes from The Silver Palate and Food & Wine Magazine.   While this recipe is a bit involved, it is relatively straight-forward.   I have taken the liberty of bolding a few steps to make sure that you follow instructions carefully.  Also, the recipe calls for lentils or wild rice (Editor’s Note:  Wild rice has half the carbs of lentils, so go ahead and double it!)

Pheasant Soup ala Thérèse

Ingredients (8 to 10 servings)

  • 1 pheasant (2 1/2 – 3 lbs)
  • 1 orange
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 slices of bacon (Please use Benton’s Bacon, highly recommended by Gourmay)
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 3 leeks, sliced
  • 3 carrots chopped
  • 1-2 ribs of celery (chopped)
  • 2 tsp of chopped rosemary
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 6 to 8 cups of chicken broth
  • 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • 1 – 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup of wild rice (rinsed) or 3/4 to 1 lb of lentils
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • Garnish:   1 Tbs of butter and 1/4 cup shitake mushrooms also 1/2 to 1 cup chopped parsley

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 350º F
  • Freshen pheasant with orange halves, salt and pepper and place two slices of bacon (Benton’s of course) over the breast and roast for 45 minutes or so, basting occasionally.
  • Dice rest of bacon and fry in a stock pot until crisp.  Remove and set aside.
  • Add leeks, onion, celery, carrots and rosemary to bacon drippings and sauté until vegetables soften (about 10 to 12 minutes)
  • Add tomatoes, chicken broth, bay leaves, fennel and wine
  • Remove as much skin as possible from the pheasant and put aside for rendering. Place the carcass (discard bacon and oranges) into the broth
  • Reduce heat and simmer covered (1 1/4 hours with lentils) or 35 minutes and then add the wild rice and simmer for another 30 minutes or so.
  • Remove the pheasant carcass and allow to cool slightly until the pheasant meat can be pulled off the bone.  Chop and return to pot.  Stir in vinegar and salt and pepper.
  • Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, heat butter over medium head and add shitake mushrooms and cook until tender – about 4 minutes.
  • If desired (and you should!), render pheasant skin until crispy.
  • Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with chopped bacon, sliced mushrooms and rendered duck skin (chopped).  Add the parsley for a little color.

(Editor’s Note:   This is truly a delightful “soup” and certainly fit for a King.   As experienced Gourmay readers know, using Benton’s Bacon makes a huge difference in cooking.   You can only order Benton’s online and there is basically a 5 week wait.  It is worth waiting for because you will never use anything else for cooking.)

Merry Christmas.

PS – Discerning Gourmay readers will note that this recipe (with important updates) was published two years ago.  I would like to apologize for premature outset of dementia, but those things happen as you grow older.

Improv Pumpkin Soup from Therese

Pumpkin ImageYesterday we had Corinne over to help cook pumpkin cake for her school class.  Today, Corinne celebrates her second birthday and she approaches cooking with her grandmother with much enthusiasm and interest.  It could well be that we have another Nigella Lawson in the making.

Thérèse seemed inspired by the occasion and decided to make pumpkin soup.  This is a delicious improv recipe that – while slightly spicy – could be great for most any meal leading up to Thanksgiving.

Improv Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients

  • Medium-size pumpkin
  • 1 Tsp of olive oil
  • Small onion (diced)
  • One garlic clove (sliced)
  • 2 cups chicken broth (vegetable broth for die-hard vegetarians)
  • 1 tsp ancho chile powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 small can of diced chiles (not drained)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/2 cup of creme fraiche

Preparation

  • Halve the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds.   Brush will oil and roast open half down in an oven for an hour to an hour-and-a-half at 350° F.
  • Saute the diced onion and slice garlic clove in oil until soft (about 10 minutes)
  • Scoop out the pumpkin pulp and add to sautéed onion and garlic.
  • Pour two cups of chicken broth into the mixture and add paprika, ancho chile powder and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Heat and continue to stir lightly to mix ingredients and then add diced chiles (no need to drain).
  • Once the pumpkin pulp is mixed well with the other ingredients add the mixture to a blender together with a 1/2 cup of creme fraiche.
  • Blend well and serve the soup hot.

This is a keeper, particularly for those who like a bit of a kick in their pumpkin soup.