With cooler weather upon us, and a weekly dance class session that keeps us out until close to bedtime, soup makes its natural return. There is nothing better for a late meal than a bowl of nourishing soup and a hunk of crusty homemade bread. Last night, I even gave Zander the option while at dance class. He told me he was really hungry and didn’t know if he could wait until we got home for dinner. So offered the option of a drive through, thinking we’d just save the soup for tonight, and he opted to wait for the soup and bread. I love that!!
Last night’s soup was inspired by the bunch of leeks I bought a few days ago. The leeks looked fantastic, and when I picked them up, I knew it was time to make a potato leek soup. It had been a while, and I also have discovered that the kids really liked pureed soup where they can’t identify various bits and veggies. So we all win with a pureed soup of sorts. Potato Leek it was, my only real change was that I decided to add some sliced ham. I wasn’t totally sold on the idea that my kids would love potato leek soup, and I thought the ham would win them over.
My first experience with potato leek soup was the first time I moved away from home. I was living and working in Reston, Virginia, and next door to the store I was working at was an upscale market and bakery. It was very pricey, but boy did they make a great cafe mocha and amazing prepared food. Every day at my lunch time I would head over to the store and buy myself a cup of potato leek soup, a small baguette, and a carton of Fresh Samantha Carrot-Blood Orange juice. It made me smile each and every time I had it. And to this day, I cannot eat a good potato leek soup without fondly remembering my time in Virginia.
Potato Leek Soup with Ham
adapted from The Joy of Cooking2 teaspoons olive oil 3 large leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced 5 or 6 medium sized potatoes, peeled and sliced 1 clove garlic, smashed 6 cups chicken broth or stock salt and pepper to taste 1/2 cup milk 2 cups diced ham
In a soup pot over medium low heat, drizzle the oil and add the leeks. Cook the leeks until tender, but not browned. This should take between 15-20 minutes.
Add the potatoes, garlic, and chicken broth. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes.
Puree the soup until smooth using an immersion blender or puree in batches in a blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the milk and ham, and heat over low heat until the ham is heated through.
Serve with crusty bread.