If Yan Could Cook. . .

Leek-Potato-Fennel-Celery Soup

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I dislike cream soups conceptually. Soups with clear broth are much more harder and riskier in all senses – presentation, crowd-pleasing, transparency of ingredients. Many restaurants make what can only be described as garbage soup by simply running a handblender through broth and any vegetables that are starting to go bad or were extraneously prepared. It always looks and tastes fine (never terrible, never spectacular) and no colour – not even the murkiest grey-brown – is considered strange. You can even let them ferment. We had a broccoli soup at one place I worked that developed an interesting sour kick to it. I ate a bowl every day for a week; my coworker said we would stop serving it once I started to hallucinate.

All that said, last night I made a leek and potato soup variant that made me feel how I imagine it feels to be popcorn: warm and buttery all over.

I used two leek stalks (just the white and light green), one bulb of fennel, three medium golden russet potatoes with the skin on, half a white onion, and two stalks of celery, all finely sliced. The whole pile wilted in a sea of butter (actually only about 1/4 cup), garlic, and chicken bullion, and then simmered in just enough water to cover everything. Finally I ran it through the blender in batches. It was thick and rich even without adding any cream. Best served with a piece of crisp pancetta on top (to add salt without adding salt) and a few fronds of dill from the fennel bulb.

Today, for complicated reasons, I ate breakfast in Shawinigan, Quebec, a white-bread town about two hours north of Montreal. It was hard to find breakfast. Mostly there were bars filled with old men, drinking deep at ten in the morning.

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Written by skimfu

August 19, 2008 at 2:05 am

Posted in Soup, Vegetarian

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