Any holiday that affords more than two opportunities to pour gravy on your plate is a fine holiday in my book. So with at least four pourable moments (turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, empty spot on the plate—not necessarily in that order), Thanksgiving is a fine holiday indeed. Add the fact that many Thanksgiving table settings, being slightly on the gussied-up side, will include a teaspoon that remains at your side throughout the meal, all but demanding use as a gravy vector, and here I am telling you what you already know: Thanksgiving is unimpeachable. It is simply the best holiday.
There are moments in early November—moments such as this one—when the mere anticipation of post-Thanksgiving fullness makes me full, if not ever-so-slightly comatose. At times like these, even the most devout givers of thanks need a simple, comforting dinner with leftovers for lunch the next day. Said dinner should be composed almost entirely of vegetables, but not in a salady sort of way. It should fit in a single bowl. It should fill your belly just enough. It should warm you from the inside. And if its smooth, velvety texture happens to gesture almost imperceptibly in the direction of gravy, well then, so much the better. It is November, after all.
About the author: You may know Carolyn Cope as Umami Girl. She stops by on Tuesdays with ideas on preparing the abundance of fruits and vegetables you might get from your CSA or the market.
- 3 large leeks, white and light green parts only
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- Kosher salt
- 6 medium to large Yukon Gold potatoes
- 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or homemade vegetable stock or water)
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Sour cream, for serving (optional)
Slice leeks in half lengthwise and wash thoroughly. Cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick half-moons. Heat olive oil and butter over medium heat in Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot. Add leeks and garlic and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are softened but not browned, about 10 minutes.
While leeks are cooking, fill large bowl halfway with cold water. Peel potatoes, placing each in bowl of water immediately after peeling to prevent browning. Cut each potato in half lengthwise and slice into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons. Drain potato slices and add to pot along with stock and a few generous grinds of pepper. Raise heat to high and bring soup to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until potatoes are very soft, about 20 minutes.
Puree soup with an immersion blender or in batches in standing blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with sour cream if desired. Soup reheats well and will keep in refrigerator for up to one week.