Thursday, July 24, 2014
Leek & Potato Sadness
The leek and potato soup was the sad failure of the meal. And it was the highlight of the meal.
This isn't the first time I have made leek and potato soup. I first made it during the winter and I did follow the instructions out of Mastering the Art of French Cooking (courtesy of my fantastic local library) It was wonderful! Light to taste, but hearty and filling all at the same time. It was also green instead of being the not-quite-white soup pictured.
This time the potato and leek soup came out watery and nearly flavorless. It was obvious that I did something wrong over here, but I think I figured it out.
1. I didn't put in enough potatoes. I only found four potatoes in the fridge and I didn't see the additional bag on the counter when I was prepping my potatoes before work. For the amount of water I used, I really needed at least six or seven or even eight potatoes.
2. I didn't prepare the leeks correctly. When I first made the soup, I cut the roots off of the leek and then peeled, rinsed, and cut the entire leek. Including the not really that tender dark green top. What I did this time was use almost only the white part of the leek and I didn't even cut into the light-green part that wasn't the dark green leaves. So the soup tasted watery and had very little leek-y flavor. The parts of the leek you are supposed to use is the white part up to the very very dark green tips. (Simply Recipes has an excellent post about how to clean leeks since I have no leek pictures to show you guys)
3. I didn't use any salt or pepper during the cooking process of the soup. I let people add it on the side. Normally that would be fine, but this time it made for a bland soup since I didn't even try to flavor it at all. This is a big culinary no-no that I should have realized. Always ( and I do mean ALWAYS) taste what you are cooking along the way. If I had, I would have realized something was off in my soup and fixed it.
The good news is that I can save all of my leftover soup! I have at least two servings left which is plenty enough to get it back to the flavors I fell in love with. Since I found the potatoes, I get to add another peeled and diced potato or two. I am out of leeks, but I can substitute in some onions for my fix to get a similar flavor (and the cookbook backs me up on it). I just need to re-heat the whole thing with the extra ingreedients and let that simmer until tender. From there I can either use my immersion blender to make it all creamy and consistent or just leave it chunkier since it is already blended. The extra water should evaporate out to make the base thicker. If it doesn't then I can add some cream or just mash up some of the new potatoes in the soup.
I think I will also make a variation of the soup while I am fixing it by adding some watercress to the mix. That will make it tasty and be enough of a change in the flavor profile to make me happy by not having the same soup two days in a row. I will let you guys know how that turns out.