Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Potato and Leek Soup with Crispy Shallots

This recipe is totally inappropriate for today’s hot and humid weather, but this is May in Maine so we’ll probably have another cold and rainy day soon. And it’ll probably happen on a Tuesday because, as everyone in my run group knows, it rains every Tuesday.

So anyway, this soup…it’s delicious. We’ve made it at least five times since our friend Anne introduced us to it a few months ago.

(Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics)

2 Lbs. Yukon gold (or similar) potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
4 leeks, white and light green parts chopped and washed (FYI: Our preferred de-grit-         ifying method is to put the chopped leeks in a bowl of water, stir them around and         then remove with a slotted spoon. The dirt will sink to the bottom of the bowl.)
3 heaping cups of baby arugula
½ cup plus 2 tbsp. dry white wine
6 cups vegetable stock (or vegetable broth)*
¾ cups heavy cream
6 oz. (more or less) organic fat-free Greek yogurt
2 oz. (more or less) low-fat or fat-free ricotta
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese (plus more for the table)
5 shallots, peeled and sliced into thin rings
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 ½ cups olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Dump the potatoes and leeks into the biggest bowl you have. Toss with enough EVOO (not more than ¼ cup) to coat the veggies and then spread the whole mess out in a single layer on two rimmed sheet pans.

3. Roast for 40-45 minutes, flipping the veggies at least once during cooking. While the potatoes and leeks are roasting, start the shallots (recipe below).

4. Add the arugula to one (or both) of the sheet pans and continue roasting until the arugula is wilted (about 4 minutes).

5. Scrape the contents of the sheet pans into a Dutch oven (or large soup pot) over low heat.

6. Add ½ cup of wine and 1 cup of vegetable stock. Stir and cook over low heat for a couple minutes.

7. Add the rest of the vegetable stock and, using an immersion blender puree the contents of the pot.

8. Stir in the heavy cream.

9. Mix the ricotta and Greek yogurt together in a small bowl, and then add the mixture to the soup. Stir (or blend) to combine.

10. Just before serving, stir 2 tbsp. of wine and ¼ cup of Parmesan into the soup. Divide into soup bowls and serve with shredded Parmesan and crispy shallots for sprinkling.

For the shallots:

1. Combine butter and olive oil in a medium saucepan and heat at medium-low. (If you have a candy thermometer, you’re shooting for 220°.)

2. Turn the heat down to low and add the shallots.

3. Cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are golden brown. (Candy thermometer folks: keep the temperature below 260°.) 

4. Using a slotted spoon, remove the shallots from the oil and spread them out on paper towels until they’re dry and crisp.

*Vegetable Stock and Vegetable Broth are almost the same thing. Click here for an explanation.