by Gay Cook
Makes 12 – 13 cups, 12 – 13, 250 ml
The combination of leek and potato is a perfect basis for soups from carrot, spinach, tomato and many more. It’s best to make this base in the autumn when vegetables are the cheapest, then freeze and use the base through the winter. Potatoes naturally thicken soups with their highest starch content in the autumn and winter so adjust the amount of liquid in the soup accordingly. New potatoes have thin skins after washing and are full of nutrients so leave on the skins. Use the white and light green part of a leek, cutting off the tough green ends for making stocks or add to the compost.
- 3 – 4 medium leeks, well washed
- 2 tbsp (25 ml) butter
- 1 lb (450 g) potatoes, about peeled and diced
- 4 cups (1L) water or chicken, vegetable or beef stock
Use the white and light green part of the leek. To wash leeks, cut lengthwise down the centre without cutting the root end. Rinse under running water to remove grit between leaves. Thinly slice.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter on medium-low heat and stir in the leeks. Cover and cook for 8 minutes to sweat but not brown. Add potatoes and sweat for another 5 minutes. Add the stock, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, until vegetables are very tender.
Purée the mixture in food processor or immersion blender; cool mixture: freeze in covered containers or refrigerate for up to 3 days.
To make carrot soup, peel or wash carrots. Cut into disks. Place in saucepan with cold water, cover and boil until carrots are tender. Puree and add ½ cup (125 ml) leek & potato base. Season with salt and pinch of sugar. Garnish with chopped fresh mint or any other herb.
To make cream of spinach soup, simply add 10 oz (300 g) of spinach
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