I have previously blogged about my love for soup. I have a soup thing and make it about once a week. In the summer I love to make cold soups (gazpacho, cucumber) and sip them when the weather is hot. This recipe is my take on vichyssoise, the humble French potato-leek soup that is served cold.
Today I whipped this together while the girls were eating their breakfast. I share this only to let you know that it doesn't take a lot of time. While both children are occupied, that's my time to cook so I make the most of it!
FENNEL, LEEK AND POTATO SOUP
Your chopping technique doesn't matter here—you are going to puree this soup. And don't be put off by the pungent, black-licorice-smell of the raw fennel. When it's cooked, it mellows and adds a nice sweetness to the soup.
1/2 stick unsalted butter
2 glugs olive oil
2 leeks, white and light green stem only, cleaned and chopped (reserve dark green leaves for stock)
2 fennel bulbs, white bulbs only, outer layer removed, chopped
2 cloves garlic
4 medium waxy potatoes, scrubbed (peeling optional, I don't)
1 box free-range chicken broth (+ more to thin soup if desired)
half and half, at least a quart
salt and pepper
creme fraiche and chives for garnish
In a heavy-bottom soup pot, melt butter and oil over medium-high heat. When butter is foamy add the leeks, fennel, and garlic plus a pinch of salt. Let the veggies sweat until they are softened, about 10 minutes. Stir occassionally and if butter starts to brown, reduce heat a touch. Meanwhile, chop potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Add potatoes to the pot along with the box of chicken broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, cover and let simmer until potatoes are cooked though, about 20 minutes or so. Remove from heat. Stir in a pint of half-and-half and then puree the soup completely with a stick blender. (Important: If you use a regular blender let soup cool completely first.) If the soup starts to go all gluey as you puree it, keep adding splashes of half-and-half (or milk or water or broth or a combination) until soup returns to a velvety consistency. Taste for salt and pepper. Refrigerate. (You may have to thin again, see comments.) Serve very cold in chilled bowls with a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream (if you like) and chopped chives.