LAKE MACBRIDE— Leeks at the grocery store looked particularly good so I bought one to make leek and potato soup. Leeks make incredible soup stock, so I always look forward to this once or twice a year meal.
The ingredients for leek and potato soup are simple:
One large onion
Half cup diced celery (garden grown if you have it)
Three carrots peeled and cut into large chunks
Top of one leek rough chopped. Cut it just below where the leaves start to fan out. Be sure to get the dirt out from between the leaves.
Two bay leaves
Salt to taste
Eight cups of water
One lunch bag full of potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
Remaining leek halved lengthwise and cut into thin ribbons and cleaned
Two celery stalks, medium dice
Two cups frozen cut corn
Partly this list is a lie. Some would skip the stock, boil the potatoes separately, reserving a cup of the cooking liquid. Saute the celery and leeks in a Dutch oven and add the cooked potatoes, corn, potato water and milk (evaporated, cream, or whatever) to cover. Heat slowly until fully warmed, but don’t scald the milk. Serve with freshly baked biscuits.
There is another way. Place the soup stock ingredients in a Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer until it’s soup. Strain the vegetables out, and put the stock back into the Dutch oven. Add the potatoes and leeks and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are fork tender and add the corn. Re-season. Bring the pot to temperature and serve with oyster crackers or freshly baked biscuits.
There are other ways to make this soup. The point of the story and recipe is that the leeks at the store looked good. I did something about that.
We have gotten too far from the natural instinct of creating from our found environment. Yes, the leeks may not have been grown in Iowa. The soup I made from them was, and that makes it local food.
A meal that was filling and tasty by any definition, cooked once or twice a year when the leeks look good in the store is culture that escapes us too often. Life is too short to let that happen.