Jacques Pepin is one of my favorite tv chefs. His joie de vivre and quintessential French-ness make him a joy to watch in the kitchen.
In addition, his book The Apprentice is one of my favorite food memoirs. It recounts his education as a classically-trained chef through apprenticeship at a hotel, de rigeur for the time (1940's) in France, and is filled with much love for food, cooking, and recipes.
He waxes on about his love for simple dishes, like potato-leek soup with only five ingredients. Leeks are a very common ingredient in country French cooking, though I had never cooked with them. Last week, we had our last cold & rainy day of the winter, so it was a perfect time for me to debut Pepin's soup.
It is a white pureed soup, so it's not flashy. But the flavor! Something magical happens between the salt, leeks, and potatoes. Something that doesn't seem possible with its humble origins. Only because I made the soup myself did I believe that it didn't contain any cream (as many versions of this soup do) because of its silkiness. This became an instant classic for me. I'm just bummed that hearty-soup weather has just ended, but I know what I'll be spooning up come October.
1 tablespoon butter
2 medium leeks, washed, split down the middle, and chopped (whites only)
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced into ½ inch cubes
3 cups water
salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste
- Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed soup pot and saute leeks until soft but not browned.
- Add potatoes, water, and salt & pepper.
- Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
- Puree in a food processor until smooth.