Monday, October 13, 2008

Silky Subtle Sexy SOUP

Soup is an interesting food. It is often associated with the poor or homeless. It is the primary food at many shelters and "soup kitchens", of course. This is due to its relatively inexpensive cost to produce and the fact that soup can be quite filling. It warms the bones. Soup is often considered peasant food or that for country folk.

But then again, this humble dish is seen grazing menus and the lips of servers spouting the specials at the finest restaurants in the world. It can be classy, sophisticated and elegant but of course must not be slurped! At least not in the western world. If you are from the east, go ahead and slurp away! It will most likely please your host.

Soup can be made with anything. Vegetables, meats or a combination of both can comprise a soup. There are fruit soups, hot soups, cold soups, savory soups, sweet soups, chunky soups, pureed soups and more. Soup can be very versatile. It can pair with a salad or a sandwich. It is also quite easy to prepare and more than forgiving for those who are timid or not very comfortable in the kitchen. You needn't fear it getting overcooked, or deflating or flopping. It comes together simply and easily and has plenty of room for play if you like to experiment.

The first weekend in October proved to actually be a bit cool and felt like fall, putting me really in the mood for soup. My preference with soup is puréed soup. And I often incorporate some cream. It may be fattening but ohhhhhhhhhh, it is so good. As I had my Sterling Performances Cookbook on my mind, I chose a recipe that I had yet to try.

Cream of Leek Soup with Stilton Crust
3 tbls. finely chopped shallots
4 cups chopped leeks
2 tbls. unsalted butter
1 cup diced potatoes
4 cups chicken broth
3 cups cream
Salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste
8 slices of Stilton cheese

In a medium pan, saute shallots and leeks in butter until vegetables are limp. Add potatoes and chicken broth; cook, covered, until potatoes are done, about 30 minutes. Cool and puree. In a saucepan, bring cream to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to low; stirring frequently, cook until cream is reduced and slightly thickened, about 45 minutes.

Add cream to the leek and potato mixture, bring to a boil. Add salt, pepper and fresh lemon juice to taste. Serve in bowls and top with a slice of Stilton cheese.

Serves 8

The only modifications I really made were probably a little more than a cup of potatoes. I had 2 russets so I just used all of it. And as I had some Gorgonzola in the refrigerator, I did not bother with buying Stilton. Maybe next time.

I accented my soup with prociutto wrapped pear slices and homemade French bread. It was a perfect pairing. The pear complimented the blue cheese and soup perfectly while the prociutto added that little bit of saltyness and contrast in texture. Listen. This is one of the best soups I have ever had. Rich, creamy, silky, smooth, sexy, sophisticated, savory, subtle, sumptious, serene and so satisfying. This meal is just one of my favorite kinds.

My bread? Well you can be sure that post is coming down the pike very very soon!


Lo said...

Oh, how I love the idea of this soup! And leeks are at the peek of seasonality right now... so this is a great application for them.

MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

If only I had a scratch and sniff screen. This looks spectacular.

Darius T. Williams said...

I'd be all over this. I have some potatoes and bacon at home - i'm totally thinking potato & leek soup too!


Nicole said...

Lo- Welcome! I have been so into leeks lately. I cook with them a couple times a week.

Mamageek- I think you have imagination enough to probably smell it!

Darius- Something so comforting about potato leek soup isn't there.

Erin said...

What a beautiful presentation, with the adorable soup crock (le cruset?). The stilton on top is the final straw... I really wish I had a bowl in front of me right now!

Robin Sue said...

This is my favorite soup for fall along with Butternut Squash. I make both of these each year and freeze for my lunch! Your leek soup sounds better than mine, so I think I will adopt it!

Proud Italian Cook said...

What a SSS Soup that is!! I'd be so happy with that pretty presentation of it all, right in front of me!

Peter M said...

Ilu-lu-lu-luv this soup and it's crowning stilton some cheese in my fridge too!

RecipeGirl said...

Delish! And that Stilton is key!!

Lori Lynn said...

Great presentation and food pairing! Love your little Le Creuset pots too.

Nicole said...

Erin- I love my little crocks too. Isn't it fun to do cute presentations.

Robin Sue- That is so funny as I made butternut squash soup last weekend. Expect that post down the way soon. And feel free to adopt away!

Marie- Thank you! I love a pretty plate too.

Peter- This is a soup to love! If you've got the cheese, you should whip some up. I love how easy soup is.

Lori- The Stilton really does set it apart from others.

Lori Lynn- Thank you. My mom showed up at my door with the Le Creuset pots one time. She just thought they reminded her of me at the store. She is funny that way.

Anonymous said...

do you know that i we're making potato and leek soup tonight? i wanted to throw some bleu or stilton in there but, alas, i don't have any. it is SUPER silky, subtle and sexy. i'd also like to add that it looks spectacular as well.

Laura in Paris said...

Last week I came back from Sologne (France) with some 6 lb of leeks and have been making different recipes (today I published the leek gratin I made yesterday). I love this recipe and would like to have it in my website ( Please contact me.

Anonymous said...

Mmmm... this looks like the perfect meal for those chilly nights ahead. I made my Californian Lemon Chicken Soup last night & we all left the table totally sated & happy. I love the flavor of leeks - so this will be tried very soon. Thank you for sharing & Great photos.

xoxox Amy

Anonymous said...

Oh I DO like you!!! I made serrano wrapped pears last weekend and just posted today, then I come across your blog!! This is good news, and I should warn you that I'm about to go trolling through all your archives...

Nicole said...

We are never full- Thank you! I hope you enjoyed your soup as much as I did mine.

Laura- Thanks! I'll drop you a line.

Amy- Ohhh your soup sounds great. Did you post about it?

Tina- I am so glad you dropped by. Welcome! I am going to check out your blog now.

Anonymous said...

Here you go, honey:

I made the soup last February.

I'm making your soup for dinner tomorrow. In fact, I had to go buy "real" soup bowls for the occasion. Ha! Any excuse to go buy something for the table - like you :)

xoxox Amy

Nicole said...

Amy- Your soup looks delish! And is so great as all the ingredients are so readily available. Let me know how my soup goes for you tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Hello, my name is Louise, known widely as “chiff0nade” or “therealchiffonade.”

I am a Professional Chef (graduated from Peter Kump’s Culinary University) and the Senior Adviser for SeriousEats website.

My job is to warn you about the TasteSpotting Troll and his attempts to shut down all of the food blogs in the universe.

You can read about him here:

Louise Wyers
Clearwater, Florida
(727) 467-9009

Sweet Bird said...

Oooh, cream of leek! With that stilton you had me at hello!

Melissa said...

I looooove soup. I even bought the James Peterson book Splendid Soups but haven't tackled it yet. This looks really, really delicious Nicole. Great job.


Nicole said...

Mrs. Louise Wyers- Information noted!

Sweet Bird- Welcome! It is such a lovely soup, thanks.

Melissa- I will have to look into that book! I am so into soups again lately too. Expect a few more posts coming up with soup on my site. When I get the chance...

MrsDocChuck said...

My husband has gained a great deal of weight now that he's housebound (medical condition). He's also been unable to see a dentist, so soft foods are a must.

I made him your soup, subbing fat free half and half for the cream and it was delightful!

Nicole said...

MrsDocChuck- So glad you both enjoyed it!

Anonymous said...

Yumm! Had the soup last Friday night - exactly like you, pears & all. The familia loved it. Thank you sweetie!

xoxox Amy

Nicole said...

Amy- Yeah!!!! I am so glad that you tried it and your family liked it.