Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Potato Leek Soup

Today I got cracking on making a huge batch of potato leek soup to can up for winter fast food.  (Taking a page out of Barbara Kingsolver's book, I euphemistically refer to my canning pantry as "fast food, paid for in time up front".)  Ready to eat soup is another commodity I'd like to add to the mix.  The first genius "fast food" idea was canning up a load of spaghetti sauce with already cooked meat added in.  Talk about instant meals!  Today's potato leek soup isn't high in protein, but one can easily add in leftover meat scraps when heating up a bowl of it.  My favorite part of the recipe, however, is the broth.  Homemade bone broth is a treasure trove of nutrients, and I just really don't get much of it down, so soup is a great way to do that. (I'll do a broth post another time.)

So I started off by cutting twelve pounds of leeks into smallish pieces:
And while I did this I set a cup of butter to melting in my biggest stockpot, to saute the leeks in:
And dumped them in and sauteed them for about ten minutes while I diced 24 potatoes (see, that potato crop came in handy!):

After I dumped the potatoes in, I added a gallon of chicken broth...
...and one gallon of water.  I just made this broth the other day from some leftover carcasses, and it's REALLY dense.  It had to be seriously diluted.  

Also, for the record, this is where I diverge into [more] weird foodie behavior.  See all that fat on the top?  We like that at our house.  Saturated fats are our best friends, and we call butter one of our favorite health foods.  Modern fats and oils have no place in my kitchen.  And let me tell you, when you believe fat is healthy, you'll never enjoy a "diet" more.  One does not miss sugar when you can eat half a stick of butter on your potato without any guilt.  It's a gleeful way to live. And contrary to popular ad campaigns, it won't make you fat or give you heart disease- but that's a story for another time.

Back to the topic at hand.

So I simmered the soup for about half an hour, to get the potatoes soft and flavors melded. I was generous with the salt. After the potatoes were done, I used my immersion blender (get one; they're fabulous) to blend it all up and here's what it looked like:
potato leek soup

Not very exciting.  But it makes up in flavor what it loses in visuals.  Also, this has a slight greenish cast to it because my leeks had a lot of green on their stems.

At this point in the recipe, if you were going to eat it for dinner, you would add some cream (fat!) and serve.  But since I'm canning it, and dairy products are apparently not safe to home-can, I'm experimenting with this by canning the soup at basically broth and veggies stage.  Then I'll be able to pull out a jar, heat it up, pour in the cream, and call it lunch.

I poured it into a series of pint jars and put them in the canner.  Since this is a veggie and broth concoction, there's about three different non-acidic reasons (potatoes, leeks, and broth) to require a pressure canner for this instead of a water bath.  I looked up the recommended canning times for each ingredient-- most were around the 20 minute range, but then I found a page for vegetable soup and figured that was my safest bet- 60 minutes.  If I make my own concoction that doesn't exist on the pages of a canning book, I usually look up the ingredients and can it for the longest time frame that I find.  I'm not above tacking on another ten minutes just to make sure, either.

I ended up with 26 pints (two not shown) which are worth about one good winter serving each.  This soup is awesome with well buttered toast to dip in it.  I'll add about 3 T. cream to each jar when I heat it up. (And I need to remember to write that on the jars so I don't have to figure it out every time...)

POTATO LEEK SOUP: (normal amount)
1 1/2 lbs. leeks (before trimming)
2 T. butter
3 medium potatoes
4 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. cream
salt and pepper to taste

Cut off the roots and green tops of leeks, leaving about an inch of green. Peel off any distasteful outer layers.
Slice leeks down the middle lengthwise and slice into 1/2 inch pieces.
Melt butter in a soup pot and saute leeks over medium for about 10 minutes, until translucent.
Meanwhile, peel and cut the potatoes into chunks. Add to pot along with chicken broth. Bring to a low boil, then turn down and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and blend soup, either with immersion blender or by pouring into a standing blender.
Return to stove and whisk in cream. Heat again if necessary, and add salt and pepper to taste.


  1. That is an awesome soup! I love making it too. And so good. I leave mine semi chunky and only partially blend it. And yes, lots of cream. I calculated the other day that the 2 of us go through 1-2 qts of fresh cream a week as well as 2 lbs ofhome made butter each week. . Life is good when fat is healthy !

  2. That looks really good. Feel free to come out here and can me lots of food k? K.

  3. Looks really good, love! Might have to make some for us :-)

  4. It IS good! She made it for dinner at my house one night... Yummm!