Potato Leek Soup With Fennel & Herbs ~ The Garden of Eating - a sinfully good blog about food

Monday, February 11, 2008

Potato Leek Soup With Fennel & Herbs

The EatWell Farm CSA box yielded a second bunch of leeks this week (we had not yet used the first bunch from last week's box) as well as several anise-scented bulbs of baby fennel with soft feathery greens.

Chopped leeks from Eatwell Farm

As I was standing in front of the open refrigerator (wasting energy, I know, I know) clutching my head in my hands and despairing of how I would ever use up all of this lovely, fresh, organic, locally-grown produce, inspiration struck! It came in the form of a potato leek soup recipe from the Soup volume of the wonderful Williams-Sonoma Soup cookbook series.

The Williams-Sonoma books are really a pleasure -- they offer beautiful pictures and down to earth recipes with clear instructions and in a very manageable size. Although I love cookbooks like Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and The Joy of Cooking with a passion, sometimes the sheer enormity of those volumes can leave me feeling a little overwhelmed -- there is something nice about a cookbook that features only 40 or so recipes. Anyway, I digress...

Potato leek soup has a fresh, yet hearty taste and the fennel and herbs in this version also give it an added touch of spring. This soup is an excellent choice for an invalid since it can be completely pureed and cooked without any dairy (though I usually add some milk.) It's a flexible soup so you can play around with the flavorings a bit with good results. Here's the recipe for my variation.

Slices of baby fennel

Potato Leek Soup with Fennel & Herbs


* 2 large organic baking potatoes, peeled and sliced
* 6-8 leeks, white parts only, washed and chopped (the more the merrier when it comes to the leeks as far as I'm concerned - feel free to use more than this if you have them handy!)
* 2 large fennel bulbs, washed and thinly sliced (chop some of the washed greens and reserve for garnish)
* 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock (if you use chicken, get the free range organic kind or make your own)
* 1 cup of whole organic milk (this is optional)
* 3 Tbsps olive oil or butter
* 2 Tbsps chopped flat leaf parsley
* 2 Tbsps chopped cilantro
* Sea salt
* Freshly ground black pepper


1. Heat the butter or oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the leaks and saute them until soft - 4-5 minutes. Add the fennel and potatoes and continue to saute until softened, another 8-10 minutes.

2. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Cook until the vegetables are completely softened, about 20 minutes. Add the herbs and cook another 3-5 minutes.

3. Puree the soup in the pot using an
immersion blender until completely smooth or to desired consistency (you can use a blender and do this in batches if you don't have an immersion blender but you should really get one - they're the bomb!)

4. Season to taste with the salt and pepper. Reheat if necessary and serve warm, garnished with the fennel leaves.

Goes nicely with buttered, salted slices of sweet baguette or some other loaf and a fresh, crispy salad.

Potato Leek Soup With Fennel and Herbs


Us vs. Food said...

those are gorgeous leeks!

Eve Fox said...

Thanks! They do have such great colors.

Nick said...

How do you like your EatWell farm CSA subscription? We are thinking of doing something similar... or maybe the same one.

Eve Fox said...

It's pretty good. I really LOVE their newsletter (it has good recipes in it in addition to being really cute and full of info about the farm). It is not really the very best time of year for produce so it's a little hard to judge - some of the stuff is arriving kind of torn up and really dirty. It is kind of a struggle to use it all up but you could also get a box every other week (which is what my brother and his wife do and I think what we'll do if we decide to continue with the CSA.) I don't know anyone who uses them yet but have heard that Full Belly Farm started offering a CSA program recently - their stuff is always great at the farmers market so you might want to look into that. On the plus side, it does feel really nice to have a relationship with the people growing your food and we have been eating a LOT of good veggies since we got it and have tried out some new recipes. I think I'd recommend it!