Potato Leek Soup with Hearty Croutons and Creme Fraiche

    As my cousin said, “very flavorful and not too rich”

    A soup before a meal really does not, and should not, have to be heavy and rich. You want to finish your soup feeling satisfied and ready for your main entree.
    I made this soup for a private dinner party that I catered. My ABSOLUTE favorite part of catering is working with clients to come up with a wonderful, creative, seasonal menu.
    This party’s menu was particularly lovely.
    Buckwheat blini with smoked trout and creme fraiche (recipe)
    Baked dates filled with cevre and wrapped in bacon (recipe)
    Crostini with Grilled Radicchio in a balsamic dressing topped with shaved Parmigiano
    First Course:
    Potato leek soup
    New York Steaks (from Prather Ranch)
    Point Reyes Blue Cheese Butter
    French Fries
    Steamed Artichoke with lemon and thyme
    Flourless Chocolate Cake
    (I’ll work on posting the wonderful recipes)

    I chose this soup because it does not call for cream, unlike a lot of potato leek soups. I think cream can make recipes too rich and fillling, not what i was looking to do here.
    Adapted from Simple Recipes
    This recipe can easily be doubled, tripled…
    Serves 4-6
    3 Large Leeks, cut lengthwise, white and light green parts only, chopped
    2 T butter
    2 cups water
    2 cups chicken broth (I used vegetarian, hey, why not!?)
    2 lbs potatoes, peeled and diced
    1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
    2 t fresh thyme, chopped
    salt and pepper
    Cook leeks in the butter with salt and pepper
    (funny side note, I forgot I added pepper and thought that it was dirt from the leeks not being washed well enough! duh!)
    Cook until nice and tender- About 10 minutes- DO NOT brown the leeks. Browning will give the leeks a burnt flavor.
    In a stockpot add the water and broth. I then added the potatoes as I was peeling and chopping- keeping them from turning brown.
    Scrape all the leeks and their juices into the stockpot of broth and potatoes
    Bring to a low simmer and cok for 20 minutes.
    I used a hand blender to puree the soup. You can control the chunkyness… I pureed it completely because I didn’t want any chunks… up to you though.
    Add the parsley and thyme and some fresh pepper (not dirt) and salt to taste.
    Preheat 425
    Find the hearty-est bread you can
    Cut into even cubes
    toss with olive oil, garlic oil and salt and pepper
    Bake on a cookie sheet, tossing frequently, 15 minutes

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