One of the things I love most about cooler weather is making big pots of soups. There is something so simple and comforting about it. It’s the whole process that appeals to me. Chopping, sautéing, simmering…it’s my zen. I’ll admit…I’m a complete food geek.
Leek and potato soup is so classic and has been done many times over. Leeks are like a really mild onion and pair nicely with the potato which gives body and a creaminess. I love creamy soups like this, but I don’t love the fat that usually comes with them. After some experimenting with different methods, I think I found a way to make you feel like this can’t possibly be low in fat! I use canned evaporated milk in place of the whole milk and heavy cream found in a lot of recipes. It’s a great substitute for cream. If you have reservations about using the canned evaporated milk, I’ll give you a recipe to make it yourself from home. It’s super easy…just a matter of simmering it down.
To me, one of the most important parts of simple soups like this one, is the garnish. This is my personal feeling…I’m saving so much in fat in the soup itself, I don’t feel the least bit badly about browning up some croutons in just a bit of browned butter to air drop into the hot soup. I love to hear that sizzle as it hits and taste that buttery crunch floating within. You don’t need a lot, just a few cubes create a nutty explosion. If that doesn’t do it for you…try grated cheese, chopped herbs like chives or parsley, crumbled bits of bacon or pancetta or just as is. Anyway you eat this, I think you’ll love it and be surprised at just how creamy it really is!
Leek and Potato Soup
1 T. butter, divided
1/2 medium onion, diced
3 to 4 leeks, trimmed, cleaned and sliced
1 C.dry white wine
1 large bay leaf
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 1/5 lbs. (about 4) yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
6 C. vegetable or chicken broth
sea salt to taste if using homemade chicken broth
1 1/2 C. (12 oz.) low fat evaporated milk
black or white pepper
Special equipment: Immersion blender
In a large heavy pot over medium high heat, melt the butter then add the onions. Reduce the heat a bit and cook until onion just begins to soften. Add the leek and continue to soften without browning. As soon as the onions are translucent and the leeks have softened, increase the heat to medium high and add the white wine. Simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated. Add the bay leaf, thyme, potatoes and broth and cover. Bring the broth to a boil then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for about 45 minutes or until the leeks and the potatoes are tender.
Remove the pot from the heat. Using an immersion blender, blend until completey smooth and silky. Stir in the evaporated milk and season to taste with pepper.
Serve in bowls with your choice of garnish.
Serves about 8.
- For my crouton garnish, I melted about 2 T. of butter in a sauté pan and tossed 2 slices of cubed bread in and toasted until nice and brown and crisp. If you are using unsalted butter, give them a small pinch of sea salt. I also sprinkled a bit of fresh thyme leaves and finely diced red pepper…just because it’s pretty!
- To make your own evaporated milk, simmer 3 cups of low fat milk in a saucepan over low heat on the stove until it has reduced to 1 1/2 cups. Do not boil the milk, just simmer it lightly.