I've been on a trot all weekend, and it only occurred to me this afternoon that I hadn't make the Soup of the Week! Yikes! How could I have let that happen?
Making a soup every Sunday seems to set the tone for the week ahead - organized. It's a tremendous problem solver! Can't think of what to put with the lunchtime sandwich? There's the soup. Did life throw you a curve and you didn't thaw something out for dinner? There's the soup. In the winter, I often make two. "Mix it up", I say! But, let's get back to Leek and Potato.
As I happened to have found nice leeks in the grocery store the other day, and I always have potatoes, this was a last minute 'no-brainer' with the Instant Pot. Well, I say 'nice' leeks. When you've spent as much time in France as I have, it's all relative. In my favorite Carrefours market in Issoire, the leeks are to die for!
I prefer a lighter Leek and Potato Soup compared to some of the thick one's I've seen on menus. Somewhere between 'brothy' and 'stand your spoon up'. I prefer to see actual leeks and potatoes. And, carrots. I adore sweet, tender, brightly colored carrots, and probably put them into far too many dishes. Oh well. You have an Instant Pot, right? Oh, I hope you do. It'll save you so much time! I can't imagine not having my 6-qt Instant Pot. My husband chuckled when he saw me bringing it out of the cupboard today. "You must use that several times a week! I'd say that you've more than got your money's worth from it!" Yup.
As always, prep your leeks, potato and carrots. Leeks aren't difficult - simply cut off the dark green, tougher top part, and the root end. If you're me, you'll put that 'trim' into the zip-lok in the freezer where you've stashed similar in order to make vegetable broth - in your Instant Pot, of course. Slice the leek down the middle length-wise, and run some water through it to wash away any dirt or grit trapped in the layers. Then, slice it up. Cut up the potato into cubes, and cut the carrot up .... I prefer an oblique roll-cut. It just looks nice.
Sauté the vegetables and garlic in the Instant Pot (Sauté setting) using a bit of water or broth to keep things moving. Give it a bit of love in the form of a very light salt and pepper, and some herbs (I like a blend of chives, parsley, marjoram, savory and thyme). The Instant Pot sauté mode is set for ten minutes. When done, add water/broth and set pressure to Low Pressure, and timer for five minutes. Set the lid in place - making certain to set the valve to Pressure. Walk away and do something else.
When it's done, release the pressure and remove the lid. Now, here's where the magic happens. Get out your blender. I have a Vitamix that I bought 'refurbished' on amazon.com and it's been great! Take about two cups of the broth and vegetables - I picked out the carrots, since I prefer them intact - and put that into the blender, with about a tablespoon or two of Maizena Roux pour Bechamel. Don't worry. You can get it on amazon.com. It's a real quick and 'lump-free' way of making things like creamy soups or sauces. It's one of my 'gotta have' items. Toss it into the hot broth and vegetables. Blend thoroughly. Pour that creamy goodness back into the pot.
Now's the time to adjust your flavors. I added a bit more of my Better Than Bouillion No-Chicken stock base, and a bit of the BTB Vegetable Base. Another hit of onion powder seemed called for. Let it simmer for about 30 minutes. Serve or put it in the fridge for tomorrow, when it will be even better.
3-4 large leeks, peeled and sliced into one inch segments
1 large Russet potato, cubed
1 big fat carrot, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 cloves of garlic, minced
5 cups of water/broth
2 teaspoons of the Better Than Bouillion No Chicken Base
1 teaspoon of the Better Than Bouillion Vegetarian Vegetable Base
1 teaspoon each of dried chives, marjoram, savory, parsley, chervil, thyme - or the Homestyle Herbs Soup Blend from The Spice House. Another herb choice which would work well is the Bouquet Garni 'French Soup Blend' from our own local Salty-Savory-Sweet The Spice & Tea Shoppe here in Reno, Nevada. Yes, they'll ship it to you.
Prep your vegetables, and get your mis-en-place ready to go. Sauté the vegetables and garlic in the pot, adding just enough water/broth to keep things from sticking. No, you don't need oil. Give it a little love with a pinch or two of salt, and a grind or two of pepper.
Once the vegetables are beginning to tenderize, add the water/broth, additional seasonings, and put the lid on the Instant Pot, set the pressure to Low and cook five minutes. If you're doing this in a conventional pot - which works fine! - you'll need to cook it (lid on) for a bit longer. Don't boil it if cooking in a conventional pot. Bring it just up to a boil, then back down the heat until it's just above a simmer. Put the lid on. Cook until the carrots are al dente. Probably closer to 10-15 minutes.
When the first stage of cooking is done, take about two cups of combined stock and vegetables (minus carrots - leave 'em in the pot) and put them into your blender. Add a couple spoonfuls of Maizena Roux pour Bechamel (or a slurry of Wondra and water/broth) and blend thoroughly until creamy smooth.
Pour that back into the soup pot, adjust seasonings, and simmer on the lowest heat for about 30 minutes. Serve or refrigerate.
Now, all you need is a large bowl, a big soup spoon, and a giant slab of crusty bread.
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