I have never tried cooking with leeks, although my friend Fr. Emmanuel kept telling me how delicious they are. So this weekend I decided to try making a leek and potato soup. It turned out quite tasty. Here's how I did it.
4 tbsp. olive oil or butter or bacon fat
2 bunches leeks, sliced and cleaned (see below)
2 tsp. sugar
2 quarts chicken broth or vegetable broth for a vegetarian version
3 cups diced potatoes
salt and pepper to taste
Clean the leeks by slicing off the dark green portion and root ends. Discard them. Slice the leeks lengthwise, then slice in half inch half moons. Place in a large bowl of cold water and rinse well, then drain. While draining heat the chosen fat and add the drained sliced leeks. Fry gently on medium low heat, stirring every 10-15 minutes, taking care not to let them scorch. Sprinkle with the sugar. After about 30-40 minutes, add about 1/2 cup chicken broth. Cook until the broth evaporates and the leeks brown more. Add more chicken broth, stir and dissolve the brown stuff on the bottom of the pan. Do this three times in all. Add the remaining chicken broth and diced potatoes. Simmer until the potatoes are very tender. At this point you have three choices.
1) Eat the soup as it is.
2) Take a potato masher and mash the cooked potatoes to thicken the soup slightly and leave a rustic chunky soup.
3) Puree the soup until smooth, adding heavy cream until you have the thickness you prefer.
You can garnish your finished soup with bacon crumbles, grated cheese or croutons. It also goes well with a nice crusty bread. And as always, enjoy!