This is my homage to Julia Child. Julia is one of my cooking idols. I love her. A few years back, I had dinner at a friend’s house and we were planning to watch Julie and Julia (by the way, if you are interesting in Julia Child’s life, see the movie…but for reading, I recommend Julia’s autobiography,My Life in Paris.). We ended up not watching the movie, but we made this soup anyway, as a tribute to the fabulous Julia. The recipe is from Emeril Lagasse. I’ve made this so many times since that night, and it’s by far my favorite potato soup….my favorite soup, period. Hands-down. I’ve tried three or four other versions of potato-leek soup, and, while each of them has been okay, none of them have been as good as this standard. I keep coming back to it, and I hope you will try it….you may find that you keep coming back to it, too.
Start by slicing three cups of leeks-white and light green parts only-and rinse them thoroughly, which I do by soaking them in warm water, swishing them from time to time (trying to separate the leeks), draining, and adding more water. I change the water two or three times. Leeks are filthy, filthy vegetables, and they must be cleaned! You don’t want to bite into the grit.
Now, peel and cube three cups of potatoes. Place the cleaned leeks and the potatoes in a large pot and cover them with six cups of water. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes and leeks are tender. Puree the soup with an immersion blender or in batches in a regular blender.
Now, this is where the soup gets sinful…but stay with me. It’s worth it. Stir in 1/2 cup of heavy cream and 1/2 cup of crème fraîche. You can buy crème fraîche at many grocery stores (Publix sells it) or you can make your own by stirring a tablespoon of buttermilk into a cup of heavy cream and allowing it to sit (covered) at room temperature until thickened, stirring one or two times a day. I’m going to make a confession, though….I forgot to make the crème fraîche, so I subbed in half a cup of sour cream, and it worked just fine!
Finally, add in a big handful of chopped parsley or some chopped chives (I always use parsley because I have it in my front yard). Salt to taste and serve with good bread or a great sandwich (this is a grilled Gouda sandwich on sourdough with bacon). Mmmmmmmm……