This satisfying soup is something too look forward when cooler weather returns. The potato gives it substance, while the leeks, garlic and thyme add additional layers of flavor. The addition of heavy cream adds a touch of decadence to this rich, creamy combination. Before serving, top each bowl off with crispy shallots for an attractive (and delicious!) presentation.
This soup tastes even better the next day, so make a nice big batch so you can enjoy leftovers with a crisp salad for lunch.
Crispy Shallots: 3 T. olive oil
3 T. unsalted butter
3 medium shallots, outer skin removed and cut into thin slices
kosher salt to taste
Soup: 3 T. olive oil
4 leeks, white and light green portion, chopped
4 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
8 c. vegetable or chicken broth
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs fresh thyme
¾ c. heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
Option Garnishes: 6 strips bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled
3 green onion tops, sliced thin
¼ cup shredded white cheddar cheese
Add olive oil and butter to a small pan and heat over medium-high until the butter melts. Reduce heat to medium and add sliced shallots to the pan. Cook shallots for approximately 12 -1 5 minutes, or until they are golden brown, stirring occasionally.
Remove shallots from pan with a fork or slotted spoon and place on paper towels. Gently blot with additional paper towels to absorb excess oil. Set aside.
In a Dutch oven or large pot, add the olive oil, leeks and garlic. Sauté over medium heat for approximately 8-10 minutes, or until the leeks are soft, but not browned.
Add broth, potatoes, bay leaf, and thyme to the pot and bring to a boil. Boil mixture for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
Remove bay leaf and thyme stems before blending the remaining ingredients with an immersion blender until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can carefully transfer the potato leek mixture in batches to a blender. (Use caution when blending hot ingredients: Don’t fill blender container more than halfway and be sure to vent the lid so air can escape).
Once potato mixture is blended smooth, stir in heavy cream. If you prefer a thicker soup, return to low heat to cook off excess liquid. If too thick, add additional cream or broth to achieve the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
To serve, ladle into bowls and garnish with crispy shallots. Other garnish options include crumbled bacon, green onions, chives or shredded cheese.