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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Potato & Baby Leek Soup / Sopa de Papa y Cebolline

This recipe is based on an original recipe of Emeril Lagasse that I found on the Food Network. I modified it to use ingredients readily available here in Costa Rica.

6-8 large baby leeks (cebolline), about 1/2 kilo, or 1 pound
2 bay leaves
25 black peppercorns
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons butter
2 strips bacon, chopped
3/4 cup dry white wine
5 teaspoons of chicken bouillon and 5 cups of water (or 5 cups of chicken stock)
1/2 kilo, or 1 pound of peeled and diced potatoes (small)
1 cup peeled and diced carrots (small)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon ground pepper, white or black
1 cup of heavy, or sweet cream
Cayenne pepper, or Tabasco, to taste
3 tablespoons minced cilantro, or snipped chives


Trim the green portions of the leek. Take 2 of the largest and longest leaves to make a bouquet garni by folding the 2 leaves around the bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme, vertically and horizontally. Tie into a package-shaped bundle with kitchen twine and set aside. (Alternately, tie 2 leek leaves, bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme together in a piece of cheesecloth.)

Using a sharp knife, halve the white part of the baby leek lengthwise and rinse well under cold running water to rid the leek of any dirt or sand. Slice thinly crosswise and set aside.

In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter with the diced bacon. Stir occasionally, until the bacon is very soft and has rendered most of its fat. It will take 5 or 6 minutes, but don't let the butter burn. Add the chopped leeks and cook until they are wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and bring everything to a boil. Add the bouquet garni, chicken bouillon & water (or chicken stock), potatoes, carrots, salt and pepper. Bring it to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes and carrots are soft and falling apart, and the soup is very flavorful.

Remove the bouquet garni and puree the soup in small batches in a food processor or blender. Remember that hot soup will expand in the blender, so don't get it too full. I like to puree all but a cup, or two, so the soup has more texture. (If you have an immersion blender, puree the soup directly in the pot.) Stir in the heavy cream and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. We like to add a little cayenne pepper or Tabasco at this point. Serve immediately, with the minced cilantro or snipped chives sprinkled over the top of each bowl of soup.

Prep Time: 16 min
Cook Time: 44 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 1 1/2 quarts soup, or about 6 servings

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