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Potato and Leek Soup

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I’m ashamed to admit this, as a proud foodie, but this was my first Julia Child recipe.  I’ve been intimidated by Julia, and her cookbooks, for several reasons, including:

1) All the French words.  (And nowhere did I find the phrase “I am a pineapple,” which is pretty much all the French I know.)
2) The sheer volume of butter and cream.
3) Her height.  I’m 4’11”.  Julia was tall enough to conk me on the head with a copper pot without lifting her arm.

Suffice it to say, these factors had me staying away from Julia.  Far, far away.  But, like most foodies and bloggers and food bloggers, I made a beeline for the movie theater when Julie and Julia came out, and despite the ridiculous amount of butter in that movie, I decided to get over The Fear and give Julia a chance.  I started small, as you can see, with potage parmentier, or potato and leek soup, which happened to be the first recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1 and the first dish that Julie Powell cooked in Julie and Julia.  It only seemed appropriate, and there really wasn’t much butter at all.  Bonus!  I cut the recipe in half and made a couple of tweaks.  I hope Julia doesn’t mind.  If she does, I’ll have to look out for copper pots…

Potato and Leek Soup

2 cups potatoes, peeled and medium-diced
1 1/2 cups leeks, rinsed well and medium-diced
1 quart chicken stock
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter (it’s Julia, after all)

  • In a large stock pot over medium-high heat, warm the chicken stock.  Add the diced potatoes and leeks, bring to a boil, and then turn down to low immediately.  Simmer, partially (mostly) covered, approximately 50 minutes, until the potatoes and leeks are softened.
  • In a food mill or with an immersion blender (not a food processor), process or blend soup until consistency is smooth or chunky, as you prefer.  If necessary, thin with water to bring consistency to desired point.
  • Stir in a pat of butter (approximately a tablespoon, but you can do more if you want to because it’s Julia) and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Garnish with chives and serve in cream soup bowls.

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Source: Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1.

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