We had dinner the other night at church as part of our book group that is reading “Consuming Kids” by Susan Linn. The book is very insightful and there is a whole section on food marketing to kids, so I recommend reading it. You can also check out the companion video on YouTube. Anyway, each of the members of the book group brought some food to share and our coordinators, Craig and Michelle, brought the main dish.
Craig made some delicious crusty bread and I will post about that at a later date, but Michelle made Potato Leek soup that was enjoyed by everyone; several of us asked for the recipe. She based it on this recipe at allrecipes.com, but she made a few changes and then I made a few more.
Also, I decided to make mine in the crockpot, not to save time really, but so I could throw everything in and then come back 3 hours later to find delicious soup. I used my smaller crockpot, but if you only have a large one, you could double this recipe and have some to freeze for later. If you want to make it on the stove in less time, then follow the shorter cooking instructions in the original recipe.
Creamy Potato and Leek Soup (crockpot version)
Makes 8 large servings or more if you are feeding kids
- 1/2 cup butter (this is 1 stick or 1/4 lb.)
- 2 small leeks (or 1 large leek), sliced thinly
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 quart chicken broth (or veggie broth for vegetarians)
- 5 cups potatoes, diced
- 2 cups half&half (or 1 cup cream plus 1 cup milk)
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- In a small pan over medium heat, melt butter. While it is melting, clean and thinly slice your leeks.
- Cook leeks in butter until tender, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes.
- While the leeks are cooking, wash and dice your potatoes. I left the skin on mine.
- Mix cornstarch well into broth and then pour broth into your crockpot.
- Add the leeks, potatoes and half/half to the crockpot. Preseason with salt and pepper, being conservative. Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6 hours.
- Adjust salt and pepper to taste before serving. We also added shredded cheddar cheese as a garnish to ours.
- Loaded Potato Soup: Garnish with shredded cheddar cheese, crumbled cooked nitrate-free bacon and chopped chives.
- Clam Chowder: Add a drained can of clams, chopped. (or fresh ones if you live near an ocean; not an option for us in Oklahoma)
- Potato and Ham Soup: Add some cubed leftover baked ham when you add the potatoes.
- Add Veggies to make it healthier: sliced carrots, chopped broccoli, or chopped spinach/kale, green peas, whatever veggies you like
- Kick it up a Notch: Add some cayenne to the crockpot while cooking or if you need to season at the table instead because some of your guest don’t like it spicy, just add a few dashes of tabasco to each bowl.
I am going to be honest here, even though there is a lot less butter and cream in this version than the original, there is still a lot of butter and cream in this soup. So, if you would like, you can reduce the butter still further to 1/4 cup (1/2 a stick) and switch the half&half to just whole milk. It will not be as thick, so to thicken it up, you could take out about 1-2 cups of the finished soup and blend it in a blender until pureed, then add back to the crock pot or give the whole pot a few whirs with an immersion blender.
Since we try to eat real food, I am not going to suggest using Frankenfood low-fat spreads or abominations like fat-free half&half. If you are going to do that, you may as well just open a can of Campbell’s potato soup with all its sordid ingredients and forget cooking. Okay, off my soapbox. 🙂 If you want to avoid cream and butter, then instead of doing crazy substitutions, instead try this Leek and Potato soup that is broth-based not cream-based from Jamie Oliver’s site.
Also, if you use commercial chicken broth, there can be a lot of sodium in it; that is one reason why I can’t give an exact amount on the salt. I used homemade chicken broth, so that wasn’t a big concern for me, but if using store-bought, find one of the lower sodium ones.
By the way, all the kids loved this soup and so did I. Enjoy!
UPDATE: Made another batch of this last night with the following changes: reduced the butter to 1/2 a stick (1/4 cup) and added some sliced raw baby-cut carrots and chopped raw spinach along with the potatoes. Still Yummy!