Today's post comes from the frustrated cook that lies within all of us... what do you do when you have a certain craving and you just can't find the recipe that fits your taste? Read on...
Any blogger that tells you they're blogging just for the fun of it is full of it ... and you know what 'it' is! We all are trying to come up with something totally our own - be it photos, paintings, journalistic life experience, fictional creative writing, food, crafts, whatever. Fun of it? Yeah, that's nice and that's part of it, but...! We are all striving to make our mark on this big old cruel world.
What am I looking for? I want a smooth creamy base that has the basic ingredient(s) incorporated into it. Then! I want some green and some crunch that you find in the springtime and summertime. I don't know about you, but it's the back end of January and I am heartily sick of winter. A taste of Spring would be a tonic right now! I am not a vegetarian; I want a soup that has just a bit of crunchy meat to complement the 'cream of ..' smoothness, but I don't want the saltiness. I want potato flavor, but potatoes with some body to them. I want a soup that doesn't have to have a long loaf of bread making crumbs all over the place. I want a soup that does not remind me of Oliver Twist's bowl of gruel. I want a soup that makes Silent Bob say, "Sounds good! When are we gonna eat ?"
Making the Soup...
In a large soup pot, sauté until translucent:
2 tbsp. butter
1 medium onion, small dice
2 leeks, whites and about an inch of the white/green section sliced into thin pennies
plenty of black pepper
Add to make a roux:
2 tbsp. flour
6 c. weak chicken stock (some chicken flavor, but less saltiness is what we’re going for here)
4 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
Simmer until the potatoes are tender and then, pureé the whole mess until smooth.
1 c. milk
1 c. half-and-half
Whisk to incorporate and add:
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 tbsp. flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Turn the heat off, cover, and allow to rest while the green herbs work their way into the soup.
Finishing the Soup...
In a non-stick pan, brown, drain on paper towels, and set aside:
¼ c. finely diced pancetta or bacon
Slice into thin ‘coins and rings’ and set aside:
2 perfect scallions/green onions
Make croutons by tossing in a bowl:
2 c. fresh bread cubes (what size do you want floating in your soup?)
2 tbsp. melted butter
a sprinkling of black pepper
1/4 tsp. powdered sage or Bell’s poultry seasoning
Place the bread cubes on a cookie sheet and place in a hot oven (400º) to toast. Watch them carefully and toss them around a bit to brown evenly. Set them aside in a pretty bowl to share with your dining partners.
Toss in a small amount of olive oil and pepper:
2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed into small (1/2-inch) cubes
Place on the cookie sheet you used to toast the croutons and roast (same 400º oven) until they are browned on all sides.
Serving the Soup...
Toss the roasted potatoes into the soup, top with the pancetta and scallions.
Have the croutons on the table for folks to drop into the soup.