Jackpot in the Soup Pot
I finally did it! I got D to gobble up his dish, ask for seconds, and then ask when I was going to make the next batch! And that was exactly what I was thinking myself. It was just that good. In fact, it may be one of the best things I’ve ever made in my life. Wanna know what it is??
Roasted rosemary potato leek soup… It’s a marriage of flavors that even the Pope would be willing to officiate over if he tasted it. It all started with a gift from my coworker. She brought me the most beautiful luscious rosemary from her garden, and it sat it my desk all day, perfuming the air and making me ridiculously hungry to the point that I started drooling on my keyboard. Rosemary’s piney-peppery-lemony scent always reminds me of herb roasted potatoes, which I “discovered” in college when I had my own kitchen for the first time and a great farmer’s market near at hand. So, by the time 5 o’clock rolled around, I was near desperation to get home and make some roasted potatoes with this glorious rosemary.
As I’m prone to do on my bike commute home [insert quick promo here for commuter cycling and all its benefits – exercise, save money, save the earth, relieve congestion…], I started contemplating my next foray into the kitchen and remembered I had fresh leeks from the farm that I’d been thinking of using in soup. By the end of my 10 mile journey, I’d come up with the idea of roasting potatoes with the rosemary and some of the farm’s amazing garlic before combining them with sauted leeks and some soy bacon in a creamy soup.
I hadn’t tried putting roasted potatoes in a soup before but thought the roasting process might help infuse the rosemary and garlic in the potatoes and, thus, concentrate the overall flavor of the soup. I’m not one to brag generally – but boy, was I ever on the money with this one! The flavor of the soup turned out to be dense and complex, even a little smoky in the background – and the salty bite of the soy bacon pings against your tongue just when it’s succumbing to all the silky creaminess.
I could go on and on about this soup but I’ll spare you my lustful ramblings — I already have the ingredients on hand for another batch so I’ll content myself with daydreaming about that. Since no doubt you’ll be making this too in the near future (you’re not?? for the love of all things delicious, why not?), you need to know the secret to its success – really fresh ingredients, including the rosemary (don’t use dried!).
Roasted Rosemary Potato Leek Soup
A “Straight From the Farm” Original
4 large potatoes
4 large leeks
4 large cloves of garlic
1/3 large onion, minced
3 t. very finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 package of Smartlife Soy Bacon (or real bacon if you want)
4 c. vegetable stock
1 c. light cream
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 T. butter or margarine
coarse sea salt
fresh ground pepper
Begin by scrubbing the potatoes and dicing them into small cubes (leave the skins on). Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spread the potatoes out on it. Mince the garlic and sprinkle over potatoes along with 2 teaspoons of the chopped fresh rosemary. Drizzle on the two tablespoons of olive oil and toss well to coat evenly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper before placing in oven to roast for about 45 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown and the skins are crisp.
While potatoes roast, trim off dark green leaves of the leeks and wash well. Slice the leeks in half lengthwise and cut into 1/4 inch slices. Set aside. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and cook the soy bacon for 3 minutes on each side until slightly crisp. Remove from heat and cut into small pieces. In the same skillet, add a tablespoon of oil and of butter. Add the sliced leeks and onion along with a generous sprinkle of salt. Saute until translucent and soft but with some color still.
When potatoes are done roasting, dump them into a large soup pot and add the leeks and bacon. Toss together and then add the vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to slightly blend the soup (adjust chunkiness according to personal taste). Slowly stir in the cream and the remaining teaspoon of fresh rosemary. Taste and adjust salt and pepper seasonings (I added about two large pinches of salt and a bit of pepper to mine).
Serve garnished with a few extra roasted potatoes and a sprig of rosemary.