What's so great about leek and potato soup?
It's a universally accepted fact that Christmas is a perennial pain in the ass.
It turns up like a long lost friend you've been looking forward to seeing, then it leaves you bankrupt with an empty booze cupboard, but still gagging for more. The ultimate conman.
Hands down the most distressing thing about Christmas however, worse even than the hordes of morbidly obese child botherers in faux fur and wellies, is it's timing. It is early. It's too early. I can't abide it. No sooner have you finished your Christmas pud than you have to come to terms with the fact that winter has only just begun and there is nothing good ahead.
So what better to do than make soup?
Soup is hot, it's easy to cram it with nutrients, great for using up left overs, ideal for extracting every last bit of mileage from your weekend roast (theres something satisfying about knowing you've used everything an animal had to give), simple to make, and perfect to take to work for a hot lunch.
Oh, and it represents particularly good value.
Almost anything can go in a soup, but some classic flavour combos exist. One of my favourites is leek and potato.
This recipe is pretty much directly lifted from Delia Smith's book on soup, and it's one of the first things I ever cooked.
4 Leeks - trimmed of outer layers, halved lengthways then sliced thinly
1 Large Potato - peeled and cubed into 2cm pieces
1 Large Onion - diced
1 1/2 Pts Chicken Stock
(I use a light chicken stock made from the carcass of one bird, as it adds extra nutrients and richness. A stock cube will do the job. Vegetable stock is also great, if you want to keep it meat free)
1/2 Pt Milk
Melt the butter and stir all the vegetables into it, until they all glisten with the fat. Add a little salt, cover, turn the heat as low as possible and sweat for quarter of an hour.
Then add the stock and milk. Turn the heat up slightly, until it begins to simmer. Turn the heat low again (milk boils over easily), re-cover and simmer on a low heat until the vegetables are soft. About 20 mins.
Season with salt and pepper to taste, then blend. You should achieve a smooth consistency.
The soup is then ready to serve. Perfect with a little fresh cream swirled in.