Spring is my favorite season, not just because trees are budding, birds are chirping, and all those lovers loving—it's leek season too! Leeks put all other aromatics to shame. When they're simmered with butter until soft, the resulting confit can be combined with almost anything and taste delicious. Leek quesadillas anyone?
I rarely cook anything that doesn't include onion and garlic, especially simple soups. But with leeks in the picture, you don't need much else. This soup is easy and cheap (always good). It also celebrates my favorite springtime vegetable, with just a hint of lemon and dill to make the whole pot sing.
Shopping List: 3 large leeks, $3.00; 1 quart purchased stock, $2.00; 2 russet potatoes, $0.50; dill, $0.50 (prorated); 1 lemon, $0.50; crème fraiche, $0.50 (prorated)
Pantry Items: Butter, White Wine, Salt,
Total Cost (for 2 portions): $7.00
About the authors: Phoebe and Cara are the co-founders of Big Girls, Small Kitchen, a food and cooking website for twenty-something cooks looking for user-friendly, affordable ways to navigate their kitchens. They have a heated, decade-long rivalry about whose Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie is the best. Their book, In The Small Kitchen, will be published in the spring of 2011 by William Morrow. Visit their blog here.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 large leeks, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
- ¼ cup fresh dill (plus more for garnish)
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons crème fraiche
In a medium Dutch oven or lidded saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks and sauté until soft, but not yet beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Pour in the wine and cook until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add the potatoes and salt, stir to coat, and cover with the stock. Bring to a boil. Simmer, partially covered until the potatoes are very tender, about 20 minutes.
Remove from the heat and puree with the dill, lemon juice and zest, using an immersion or standing blender. Return to the pot and stir in the crème fraiche. Serve with a sprinkle of dill leaves for garnish, and some crusty bread.