Potato Leek Soup

This is not your average potato leek soup. It has no dairy, waxes pink from a flurry of swiss chard stem antioxidants, flushes with a little sweet honey mead, and swoons mellow from roasted potatoes and leeks. That’s right, they are roasted before they are made into soup, and the sheet pan used to roast them get’s a stove-top deglazing with the white wine. Have you ever deglazed a cookie sheet before? I had never, and the technique made me think I was in a European kitchen wearing chef’s whites and a touque!

The whole idea to roast the potatoes and leeks comes from Ina Garten, Back to the Basics. Using this technique definitely adds more time to the meal, but the flavor is quite stunning, and it was fun to use a few seasonal veggies as well as a bottle of mead from White Winter Winery in Wisconsin – getting back into the local scene after a long winter!

Ingredients:

  • 2 large leeks, trimmed, washed and thinly sliced
  • 3 pounds potatoes, diced
  • oil to coat
  • 1 head garlic, roasted in foil with a drizzle of olive oil
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 1 bunch swiss chard, stems and a bit of greens
  • 1 bunch asparagus, cut into small chunks
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degree. Toss the sliced leeks and potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for about 45 minutes or until tender. Place the foil-wrapped garlic on the cookie sheet to roast while the leeks and potatoes cook. You may want to flip the veggies during cooking, but I don’t think it’s necessary.

When the potatoes are tender, remove the cookie sheet from the oven and place on stove-top over medium heat. Here’s where you get to deglaze a cookie sheet! Pour in 1 cup of wine and scrape the crispy bits off the bottom. Mash the potatoes with a fork and mix with the wine. Remove the cloves of garlic from the head, and squeeze out the roasted garlic paste. Mix everything together. Let some of the wine cook off then scoop the mixture into a stock pot. Add about six cups of water or stock, salt and pepper to taste and more wine if you like. Bring it to a simmer.

Add the swiss chard stems and allow to simmer for about ten minutes. Last, add the asparagus and cook for another five minutes on very low heat. You don’t want the asparagus to get stringy. It should be bright green and still just a bit crisp.

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