A luxurious, creamy concoction can be wonderfully basic, too

  • The crispy shallots are a tasty garnish on this creamy Roasted Potato Leek Soup.

      The crispy shallots are a tasty garnish on this creamy Roasted Potato Leek Soup. M. Eileen Brown | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted12/30/2020 6:00 AM

Hurry, make this soup before you start your 2021 New Year's resolution diet.

That's because this Roasted Potato Leek Soup is nothing if not decadent. Courtesy of Ina Garten's "Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics," we're talking heavy cream, crème Fraiche, white wine, Parmesan cheese and deep-fried shallots.

 

We're also talking about something that is everything you want a potato leek soup to be -- rich, complex and completely satisfying.

In other words, it is worth every calorie.

You roast the vegetables for starters, which is always a good idea because the caramelization adds a savory depth of flavor. She also includes arugula (also roasted) in this recipe, which adds a nice peppery kick, not to mention a festive green color.

The addition of white wine and Parmesan cheese really take this to another level. When you finish it off with crispy, fried shallots, well, you've got yourself something special -- it's basic but indulgent.

Serve it with a simple salad, a nice crusty bread, a crisp white wine, and start worrying about the diet tomorrow.

• M. Eileen Brown is the Daily Herald's director of strategic marketing and innovation and an incurable soup-a-holic. She specializes in vegetarian soups and blogs at soupalooza.com.

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Roasted Potato Leek Soup.
  Roasted Potato Leek Soup. - M. Eileen Brown | Staff Photographer

Roasted Potato Leek Soup

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾-inch chunks

4 cups chopped leeks

¼ cup olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 cups baby arugula, lightly packed

½ cup dry white wine

6 to 7 cups chicken or vegetable stock

¾ cup heavy cream

8 ounces creme fraiche

¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnish

Crispy Shallots, recipe follows, optional

For the crispy shallots

1½ cups olive oil or vegetable oil

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

5 to 6 shallots, peeled and sliced into thin rings

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the potatoes and leeks on a sheet pan in a single layer. Add the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper and toss to coat the vegetables. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes, turning them with a spatula a few times during cooking, until very tender. Add the arugula and toss to combine. Roast for 4 to 5 more minutes, until the arugula is wilted. Remove the pan from the oven. Stir in the wine and 1 cup of the stock and cook over low heat, scraping up any crispy roasted bits sticking to the pan.

In batches, transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor fitted with the steel blade, adding the pan liquid and about 5 cups of the stock to make a puree. Pour the puree into a large pot or Dutch oven. Continue to puree the vegetables in batches until they're all done and combined in the large pot. Add enough of the remaining 1 to 2 cups of stock to make a thick soup. Add the cream, creme fraiche, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and check the seasonings.

When ready to serve, reheat the soup gently and whisk in 2 tablespoons white wine and ¼ cup of Parmesan. Serve hot with an extra grating of Parmesan and crispy shallots, if using.

For the crispy shallots:

Heat the oil and butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat until it reaches 220 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Reduce the heat to low, add the shallots and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, until they are a rich golden brown. Stir occasionally to make sure they brown evenly. Remove from oil with slotted spoon and spread them out on paper towels. Once they have dried, they can be stored at room temperature.

Serves 6 to 8

From "Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics" by Ina Garten

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