Martian Food
Sep 18, 2015

The Martian will be in theaters on October 2nd, and the critics are saying it is a spectacular film. The novel,&n

Creamy Leek and Potato Soup

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Yield: 4 to 6; or 10 to 12 in small appetizer portions

Source: Cook's Illustrated

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4 medium leeks, prepared as described below
4 Tbs. (½ stick) unsalted butter
1 small (about 6 oz.) russet potato, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into ¼-inch slices
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
1 medium onion, chopped medium
1 bay leaf
1 4-inch sprig fresh thyme or tarragon
1 large slice high-quality sandwich bread, lightly toasted and torn into ½-inch pieces


PREPARE THE LEEKS: Separate the white and light-green parts from the dark green parts. Halve the white and light-green parts lengthwise, wash them, and thinly slice them crosswise. You will have about 4 cups. Halve the dark green parts, wash them, and cut them into 2-inch pieces.

Bring the dark green pieces, the broth, and the water to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat; reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Set aside. Discard solids; rinse saucepan.

Place the rinsed saucepan over medium-low heat and melt the butter. When the butter foams, add the sliced leeks, the onion, and 1 teaspoon salt. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

MAKE THE SOUP: Increase the heat to high and add the reserved broth, potato, bay leaf, and the herb sprig and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the toasted bread and cook until the bread begins to fall apart, about 5 minutes.

Remove and discard the bay leaf and the herb sprig and, in a blender or food processor, in batches, purée the soup until smooth. Return the soup to the pan and bring to a simmer; season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve with a garnish.

Cook's Illustrated suggests a garnish of fried leeks prepared as follows: Take 1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, halve it lengthwise, wash it, and cut it into very thin 2-inch long strips. Toss the leeks with 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Heat ½ cup of olive oil in a 12-inch skillet until shimmering. Add half the leeks and fry, stirring often, until they turn golden brown, about 6 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Repeat with the other half of the leeks.

Some other suggestions for garnish are crumbled bacon, a bit of sour cream, or chopped chives. We are always all over the bacon garnish.


The soup can be made a day or two ahead and kept refrigerated until ready to use. Simply reheat it, thinning it with a bit of chicken broth if it is too thick.

If you have an immersion blender, you can use it to purée the soup right in the pan.

We like to serve this soup in small espresso cups or glasses (2 or 3 ounces each) as an appetizer.

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