Friday, December 10, 2010

French Fridays with Dorie - Leek & Potato Soup

Friday is here at last!  This week I cooked the Leek & Potato Soup for my French Fridays with Dorie post.  In my family, we have a treasured Potato Soup recipe (see below), which we make on Christmas Eve (along with a big pot of chili).  I think the tradition started with my mom and grandma as something relatively easy to make and it will stay warm on the stove for relatives to drop by whenever they like on Christmas Eve.  My siblings and I have kept this tradition alive.

Last year, although a bit scared to do so, I actually made a couple of changes to the soup, just to liven things up a bit.  I added leeks and goat cheese.  The additions were a bit hit (especially the goat cheese)!  I was relieved, since messing with Christmas "taste" memories is a real no no.  You know what I mean.  All year long you've dreamt of that first bite of Christmas fudge, or a special holiday cookie, or a bite of Potato Soup and you want that bite to taste exactly the same way it has always tasted.  Many of us get stuck in a rut because of this and our holiday dishes never improve, they just stay the same, year after year.  So, knowing this...I wondered if Dorie's recipe would be good enough to bump our traditional Christmas Eve Potato Soup.

All the ingredients, except the garlic...where did the garlic go?

Dorie's recipe is different from my family's recipe in a couple of ways.  The ingredients are slightly different (for instance, Dorie's recipe calls for leeks, mine doesn't, which is probably why her recipe is called leek and potato soup and mine is called potato soup!).

And the way you cook the ingredients is different.  Mainly, in Dorie's recipe, after sauteing the onions and garlic, you add all the other ingredients, including the milk and cook until everything is tender.  In my recipe, there's no sauteing, you just cook the main ingredients in water, then add cream and spices at the end.  With Dorie's recipe, you can use water or stock and milk or water.  I decided in order to get the richest soup possible that I would use stock and milk.

Before knife!

After knife!

Ready to simmer!

The prep for the soup was super easy (pun intended!).  When the soup is finished, you can puree it until smooth or leave it chunky.  You can also serve it hot or cold.  I decided to leave it chunky and serve it hot.  I followed Dorie's suggestion and made giant croutons to sit on top of the soup.  I also cooked thick cut bacon and chopped it up and served that on the side as a garnishment (my boys are okay eating a vegetarian meal, but they prefer a little meat/bacon with everything they eat).  (If you are wondering where the pictures of the soup with the bacon on top are, the bacon got gobbled up in the soup before I could get a picture of it!)

When I made the croutons, I sauteed the bread slices in the bacon fat and then added a bit of parmesan on top.  Can I just say...these croutons were DELICIOUS!

What's the verdict? 

St. James said Dorie's soup is better and should replace our family recipe (although he only eats chili on Christmas Eve, so I'm not sure his vote should count).  Ethan thoroughly enjoyed the new recipe (as did our guests).  I think I'd add a little cream and a little butter to "fatten" it up a bit.  I do love the fresh herbs that gently simmer into the broth as the soup cooks.  I think I'll ask my sisters if they are okay trying this new version for the holiday.  Although, I won't be surprised if they say no.

For a simple, yet delicious soup, try my grandma's recipe.  She should would get a kick out of knowing that I am sharing her recipes across the internet world!

Grandma's Potato Soup 
(grandma's note in margin "good!!")

4 cups cubed potatoes
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup chopped onions
2 cups water
2 tsp salt

Simmer 20 mins, mash once or twice.  Then stir in the following ingredients and heat through.

1 cup milk
1 cup cream
3 Tbs butter
1 Tbs parsley
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 tsp pepper

Wondering what everyone else made this week at FFwD?  Check them all out here.  Tune in next week for my go-to beef daube.  


Candy said...

Love your story! I wish I had had the time/inclination to make croutons. Yours look fabulous and sound even better... Croutons cooked in bacon fat! Yum. Your grandma's soup sounds wonderful too. Will have to try it!

♥Sugar♥Plum♥Fairy♥ said...

Oh so good , i lovee ur pretty soup pot and ur story too , oh so good and delicious!

Allison said...

What a wonderful post. I really enjoy your writing!

Seattle Pastry Girl said...

Beautiful photos . This is what I love about cooking groups -you get a chance to discover wonderful blogs you may not have found otherwise-sweet post !

t.t. for spoonables said...

Your soup looks so creamy and inviting! And the photos look wonderful!

Elaine said...

I am sure your grandma's potato soup is just as delicious as Dories's. Thank you for sharing her recipe! Your photos are great and you soup looks wonderful. I bet the parmesan cheese made the croutons taste so good.

Cher said...

Oh, the croutons look great. And loved that you brought out the pumpkin crock! I picked up the ingredients for the beef daube and think I will try that tomorrow. Keeping my fingers crossed! Good luck on the cookies - channel your inner superhero and you will be just fine.

Anne-Marie said...

Your crouton looks AWESOME! You made everything look so beautiful. Isn't that soup da bomb? My husband gobbled it up tonight.

Anonymous said...

Great post! The pumpkin soup bowl is adorable and thanks for sharing your grandma's recipe!

Renee said...

What a lovely post. I love the background fro your blog as well. I'll bet those croutons were tasty!
I hear you can send a link as to how to have my picture appear on the FFwD site. Can you forward the link to me please.

Anonymous said...

What a great tip about the bacon! I, too, am steeped in traditional holiday fare, but this sounds like it could work its way into the festivities!

Anonymous said...

Looks wonderful! I love leeks so definitely making this next week. Your presentation is absolutely spot-on too!

lola said...

Got my avatar:) Thanks for the help!

Anonymous said...

The soup looks wonderful and thanks so much for sharing your Grandmother's recipe, too!

Cara said...

I agree, the soup does look great, and I think I'll have to try your recipe too!

Kathy said...

Your soup looks fantastic. I am looking forward to this soup. I am a huge potato soup fan. Loved your post and I'm sure your grandma would love that you're sharing her recipe. I'll have to give it a try. Also loved your leek photo…awesome!

Betsy said...

Hi Steph, Your soup looks really delicious. And those croutons sauteed in bacon fat look amazing. I just used little crouton cubes I make from a favorite bread, no fat though. I've got to try it with bacon.
Thanks for giving me the tips on labels in Picasa. I just started using Picasa so will try it out soon.

Cakelaw said...

Your soup bowl is gorgeous! Good to hear that this soup was so good that the family want it to usurp a family favourite - I am yet to make mine.

Kimberly said...

What a wonderful story about your family traditions! We ALWAYS have chili on Christmas Eve. And we ALWAYS use the same recipe. I can relate! Your soup looks delicious.

Ann (napangel) said...

I love this post ... how you intertwined your Christmas traditions into your experience with making Dorie's soup. Wonderful! (And both soups sound great!)

Anonymous said...

I love reading about what people eat for christmas. It seems like for other holidays we all eat versions of the same dishes (burgers and pies on the 4th), but Christmas is so personal and full of family tradition. We always at Stuffed shells and King Crab on Christmas eve.

Also, love your soup croc! So cute.

Lara B Knight said...

This looks wonderful & great post!!! I am going to give this a go this Friday night. What a wonderful idea for a Christmas Eve menu, especially with people popping in.

Sweet and Savory said...

You made this recipe look beautiful. The crock is stunning. Your soup looks yummy. I know mine was.

Judy said...

I've just got to try the croutons next time, and also try not to forget the milk. Looks delicious.