I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen young cooks throw away perfectly good parts of a leek. You pay as much for the green part as you do for the white part, so you might as well use the whole thing!
You want this soup to have a light green hue to it, so only discard the toughest outer leaves of the leeks. Before you get started, be sure to clean the leeks thoroughly, as dirt and sand can get caught in between the many layers. (Slice off the roots and cut the leek lengthwise. Use warm water to rinse out each layer.)
I’m garnishing this recipe with sautéed chanterelle mushrooms. I’m using rehydrated mushrooms I saved from last year’s foraging adventures, but depending where you live, you can probably find chanterelles popping up in the wild right now. Here are tips for foraging for mushrooms safely.
Potato Leek Soup With Chanterelles
Yield: 4 gallons
- 18 leeks, rinsed, rough chop (mostly the white part)
- 1/2 head celery, rough chop
- 3 onions, rough chop
- 2 cloves garlic, whole
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 1 teaspoon lightly toasted and crushed fennel seeds
- 15 potatoes, large, Idaho, cut into medium pieces
- 2 gallons chicken stock, hot
- Sachet thyme, bay leaf and 1 teaspoon white peppercorns
- Cayenne pepper to taste
- 1 chef knife’s point mace
- 2 ounces chanterelles, sautéed
- 2 ounces leeks, julienned
- 1 teaspoon chopped chives
- Sweat the mirepoix over low heat until translucent.
- Add the wine and reduce by half.
- Add the potatoes, chicken stock and sachet.
- Simmer over medium heat for 45 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through.
- Remove the sachet and puree soup with a large immersion blender.
- Strain through a large hole china cap and then a chinois. Adjust the seasoning and chill.
- Heat to order and finish with cream. Garnish plates with leeks and chanterelles. Finish with chives.