Ahh leeks. I’ve gotten to love you since I first laid eyes on your dirty goodness. I learned how best to cook you, and now when I see you in the markets here I have to have you.
I’ve made this recipe in different ways, but right now this style reflects my current living locations. Cusco, Peru to be exact. Now I’ve not gone crazy and added cheese or chilies, but I am cooking with different potatoes from the region at high altitude, so I am sure this alters the cooking times a bit. Nevertheless, I love cooking things slowly so as with most of my soups this one simmered down for hours before turning into garlicky soupy goodness. Enjoy.
-2 or 3 leeks, just the white part (cut off the tops-the tough green leaves)
-3 or 4 garlic cloves (depending on how garlicky you like it)
-1 small mild white onion
-half a stick of celery
-3 russet potatoes & 3 white potatoes (the kind that get mushy when boiled)
-pinch of thyme ( in this case I used oregano I had and it was just as tasty)
-salt and pepper (use white if you’d like)
-4 or 5 bay leaves
-some olive oil or veg oil to coat the bottom of your soup pot
What to do next:
First step is washing your leeks. I like to slice mine in half, then chop them as fine as you like them. Take a bowl with water and break apart the leeks as you drop them in. This gets the dirt off the insides. You’ll notice- the bottom of the bowl after you remove the leeks will be muddy. Don’t want to eat that. Wash and peel your potatoes. Chop the russets into medium cubes and chop the white potatoes into small cubes. These will cook and turn the soup thicker the smaller you cut them.
While the leeks are soaking, put a few tablespoons of oil in your pot. You could use butter I suppose, but be careful of burning it with a hot saute pot. Cut your white onion, chop your garlic finely & do the same with the half of celery. Add the onion & celery to the pot, on medium-low heat. Drain your leeks really, really well (use a colander, paper towels, or both) and get them nice and dry. This will help them cook and not drown your onions in water, which prevents them from sweating. Add the leeks to the pot, and throw in some salt and pepper. When that cooks down a bit, add the garlic and the thyme or oregano.
Cook the garlic a bit, then add some water to the pot. Add your potatoes and add more water, enough to boil the potatoes for a while. Add your bay leaves and cover for 1/2 hour or so, on medium. After that, leave the soup uncovered on low and keep cooking for an hour or so. Stir and make sure nothing gets stuck to the bottom. You should notice the white potatoes break up and start to make the soup look thick. This is good. The russet potatoes, on the other hand, will withstand the boil and you’ll still have chunks of potato in your soup for eating.
This time, I had a tiny bit of evaporated milk left in the can that I used in another recipe. When the soup is thick enough for your taste, turn off the heat. Add some cream, leftover evaporated milk, or a bit of lactose free milk, if you like. Serve with garlic bread or crackers, or both!