Sunday, January 03, 2016

Chicken, Leek and Potato Soup in honor of my father

My dad used to make this incredibly delicious soup. Every pot was delightful, magical and soul satisfying. Tender shreds of chicken, soft potatoes and delicate leeks floating in a fantastically scented, slightly creamy broth.

There are a few foods that I think of as belonging to Dad. Barbecue and especially the sauce, chili, boiled dinner and spaghetti sauce that took three days to make.  I can oven roast some damn fine meat, fake a sauce that doesn't compare to his but is still good, make pretty darn good chili and my spaghetti sauce is awesome even if it doesn't take three days to make.

I've made the soup the way my dad did for years. Although I am always willing to explore new flavors and recipes, there are some foods that are hard wired in my brain. The way they are is the way they are and you just don't mess with them.

But one of the ingredients for the soup became increasingly difficult to find. I could never find it when I wanted it and when I did find it it was usually mid July and soup was not at all what I was craving.

So one winter day I became desperate enough to commit traditional recipe heresy. See, the secret to my dad's soup was Knorr Leek Soup Mix. Three stores and no luck so I just bought 3 large leeks and decided to fake it. (ha ha I faked the fake stuff)

By  the way it is considerably easier to find Knorr Leek Soup these days thanks to the interweb but I tend to stick to my newfangled version.

Chicken Leek and Potato Soup

3 large leeks, cleaned and diced
1 small onion finely diced
2 medium carrots finely diced
2 ribs celery finely diced
4 oz button mushrooms finely diced
3 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Large sprig of fresh rosemary or 1 1/2 teaspoon dried
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 quarts of chicken stock*
 *This can be homemade, or made by boiling a chicken, seasoned with salt and pepper in 3 quarts of water reserve the chicken for the soup, or canned or boxed low sodium chicken broth.
1 6 oz chicken breast boned or deboned (unless boiling a whole chicken to start)
2-3 or 4 or 5 or 12 pounds potatoes, scrubbed and cut into large cubes. Honestly, there never seems to be enough (You can peel them if you like, my dad did, but I am lazy and like the skins)
4 cups whole milk or 3 1/2 cups skim milk and 1/2 cup cream.
8 oz sour cream

In a large pot, over medium heat, sweat the vegetables with the rosemary in the butter and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the chicken broth, and chicken breast, bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer 15-20 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside to cool.

Add the potatoes to the pot with a generous amount of salt and  bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes until potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, shred (and debone if on the bone) chicken breast. When the potatoes are tender add the chicken to the pot. Test for seasoning and adjust to taste.

Slowly whisk in the milk and sour cream and bring up to temperature. Do not boil.

Serve in large bowls with a spoon. You can have other stuff like bread and/or a salad too if you like.

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