Leeks belong to the allium family; alongside onions, garlic, shallots, and scallions. They are a versatile vegetable that can be incorporated into a large array of dishes.
Leeks can be difficult to clean, since the layers are folded closely, one on top of the other. The easiest method is to cut them up into small pieces before you run them under water. The white and pale green parts of leeks are the most popular and commonly used, though the dark green parts can be tenderized for fresh use or used in soup.
Justin’s Potato Leek Soup:
- 3 large leeks (about 2-3 cups after chopping)
- 2 1/2 Tbsp butter
- 4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarian option)
- 2 lbs potatoes (Yukon Gold or Russet), peeled, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, less or more to taste (we recommend Jacobson Salt Co)
- 1 or 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Sprinkle of Tabasco sauce or other red chili sauce (optional)
- White or black pepper to taste
- Clean and cut the leeks: Cut off the roots of the leeks. Cut the leeks lengthwise, fan them open under running water to dislodge any dirt or mud hiding inside. Cut off the tough dark green tops and discard (either compost or freeze for making stock). Slice the white and light green parts of the leeks crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place the slices in a bowl of cold water and agitate them with your hands to dislodge any remaining dirt. Then scoop out the leeks with a sieve or slotted spoon.
- Cook leeks in butter to soften: Melt butter on medium heat in a 3 to 4-quart thick-bottomed pot. Add the chopped leeks, stir to coat with the butter. Cover the pot and lower the heat to low, cook for 10 minutes until the leeks are softened. Check to make sure the leeks are not browning.
- Add broth, potatoes, herbs, salt, bring to simmer and cook: Add the broth, diced potatoes, bay leaf, thyme, and a teaspoon of salt to the pot. Increase the heat to high to bring to a simmer, then lower the heat to maintain a low simmer, and cook for 20 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through
- Purée the soup: Remove and discard the bay leaf and thyme sprig. Use an immersion blender or standing blender to blend about half of the soup if you want a chunky soup, or all of it if you would like your soup to be smoother.
- Add parsley, adjust seasonings to taste: Add the parsley, and cook a few minutes more. Add a few dashes of Tabasco to taste. Add freshly ground pepper and more salt to taste. (Potatoes soak up salt, so you may need to add more salt than you expect.)