Meatless Monday Recap: Roasted Potato Leek Soup or Ina Garten, I love you!

1 Feb

Oh how I love the Barefoot Contessa. Let’s be honest- who among us doesn’t dream about running away to the Hamptons to run a specialty food store? No? Just me? Whatever- regardless of your feelings about the buttercream queen, you are going to love this soup. Seriously. Love it. I’ve been a bit lackadaisical in my praise for some recipes I’ve tried recently, but this one gets a standing ovation. I should have known Ina wouldn’t let me down.

I saw this Roasted Potato Leek soup months ago on an episode called Comfort Classics Closeup. I wanted to try it immediately, but decided to wait until I got the immersion blender that I knew my mother had planned for my Hannukah gift.

It was so worth the wait.

Somehow, my soup ended up tasting like a bowlful of liquefied sour cream and onion potato chips- in an amazing way. On the Food Network website the recipe had four stars out of five, but a quick read-through of the reviews revealed mostly raves, with a few disgruntled failures mixed in. Just to make sure that it wasn’t going to end up “very bland” (as described by the most recent reviewer), I tried one of the potato pieces post-roasting: tasted just like latkes (a thought that Adam immediately echoed when he walked in the door, “it smells like latkes in here!”). Of course, now I’m just looking forward to trying the Cheesy Soup that popped up in the ‘similar recipes’ sidebar, although Robert Irvine could never hold the place in my heart that Ina does.

A few notes, before the recipe:

~The ‘cook time’ is supposedly 1 hour 35 minutes, but it took me 3 hours start to finish. I’m certainly not a speedy cook, but this is also definitely not a quick recipe.

~I’d never used leeks before last night- I was completely surprised when I pulled apart the leaves and found mud between the layers! Katie Goodman of goodLife {eats} provides great step-by-step instructions (with photos!) for cleaning leeks. While I’ve never had a problem with cutting onions, the leeks definitely had the inside of my nose stinging. Hooray for trying new vegetables!

I had no idea leeks were so huge!

~I did try to make the crispy shallots for on top, but they just didn’t turn out crispy. At all. I’m going to blame my lack of a candy thermometer and say that the shallots are probably lovely when done properly, but I didn’t really mourn their absence (because this soup is awesome). If it hadn’t been Meatless Monday I might have followed some of the suggestions in the comments section and topped the soup with some crispy bacon, just for fun.

trying to fry shallots

waiting for shallots to get crispy

~My grocery store didn’t have crème fraîche and my specialty store was out, so I just substituted 1/2 cup lowfat sour cream and 1/2 cup half & half- turned out just fine.

~Finally- I was a little confused because there were no instructions concerning when to add the butter. This is, after all, an Ina Garten recipe- how could there be no butter involved? After searching the ingredients list several times, however, I was reassured that this wasn’t an oversight, and I comforted myself by adding some extra parmesan, just to be safe.

Anway, here’s the recipe that will have you swooning. Enjoy!

Roasted Potato Leek Soup


2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks

4 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (I needed three leeks)

1/4 cup good olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 cups baby arugula, lightly packed

1/2 cup dry white wine, plus extra for serving (I used a Schmitt Sohne reisling that’s been floating around since our housewarming; it worked just fine)

6 to 7 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade (I subbed vegetable stock, as usual)

3/4 cup heavy cream

8 ounces creme fraiche (or 1/2 cup sour cream plus 1/2 cup half &half)

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan (I used about 1/2 cup), plus extra for garnish


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine the potatoes and leeks in a large mixing bowl. Add the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss to coat the vegetables evenly. Spread the vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes, turning them a few times during cooking, until very tender.

leeks and potatoes getting roast-y in the oven

Add the arugula and toss to combine. Roast for 4 to 5 more minutes, until the arugula is wilted. Remove the pan from the oven and place over 2 burners. Stir in the wine and 1 cup of the chicken stock and cook over low heat, scraping up any crispy roasted bits sticking to the pan. (I ended up adding a bit more of the stock at this point because I was having difficulty loosening up all the yummy bits.)

maybe the only benefit of my electric cooktop- it's flat (though not at all level)

Transfer the vegetables to a large pot; add the pan liquid and about 5 cups of the stock.

roasted veggies and vegetable stock

Use an immersion blender to create a puree, then add enough of the remaining 1 to 2 cups of stock to make a thick soup.

immersion blender in action

Add the cream, creme fraiche, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and check the seasonings. (The one note I would make here- taste the soup before adding the 2 teaspoons of salt: it might already be salty enough.)

adding in the creaminess

When ready to serve, reheat the soup gently and whisk in 2 tablespoons white wine (I added a bit more) and the grated parmesan. Serve hot with an extra grating of parmesan.

(Given the richness of the soup, I served it with a simple arugula salad- just baby arugula tossed in olive oil, lemon juice and a little salt, topped with shaved parmesan and some freshly ground pepper. It provided a really nice balance to the rich, creamy soup. Plus, you know, vitamins.)

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2 Responses to “Meatless Monday Recap: Roasted Potato Leek Soup or Ina Garten, I love you!”

  1. Jason February 4, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

    My mom loves Ina Garten and has her cookbooks. When Kayla and I would help her cook, we would frequently make fun of Ina by reading out the recipes in a deep, creamy, sort of stuffed up voice. In particular, we would mock her insistence that one use “good” olive oil, a detail which I noticed found its way onto your blog.


  1. Oh so much garlic in the soup « All Things Sweet and Savory - February 26, 2011

    […] was delicious. Not quite as rich and creamy as my recent roasted leek and potato soup, but still lovely and flavorful. (A roasted garlic/cheesy potato hybrid soup is now in the works!) […]

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