Sometimes it’s embarrassing to admit to the things you’ve never tried eating. In fact, before I became a gardener there were so many delicious vegetables and greens that I most likely would have never given a second glance. Growing some of your own food is a great way to try new things and I’ve resolved to grow something new each year. The novel vegetable of 2011 (for me at least) was the leek. Ridiculous, I know.
Leeks are milder than their cousins, the onion and they add just the right flavor to potato soup. They are easy to grow and have no major pests. I grew mine from seed in containers, transplanted them into the garden in early Spring, and waited to harvest them until early September. If I had planned better, I would have planted a fall crop as well since they can take some frost, and apparently a few frosts add to the flavor.
Potatoes are also easy to grow, but having nowhere to store them, I decided to make soup and freeze it so that we could enjoy it throughout the winter. The first recipe I tried was a savory success. It combined a few homegrown ingredients, leeks and potatoes, as well as some dried chile’s that I had on hand from last years harvest, living up to its nickname of poor man’s soup. It also brought out some silliness as my kids and I were preparing the soup. I’d ask what kind of garden can’t hold water? My son would reply a garden with leeks. Get it? Hours of entertainment.
Olive oil (to coat bottom of pot)
salt (to taste)
10 large leeks, washed and sliced
1 T of chile powder
11 cups of broth (water can be substituted for broth)
6 lbs Potatoes (I used a mixture of Yukon Gold and Kennebec)
4 bay leaves
To store this soup, let it cool completely and pour small batches into 1-gallon freezer bags. I like these bags because they store nicely without taking up a lot of space. Plus they can be rinsed and reused. I was able to fill 5 1-gallon bags with enough left in the pot for dinner that night.
Potato-leek soup is absolutely perfect with slices of hearty bread and butter on chilly, rainy days. Sprinkle some black pepper on top of each bowl and enjoy!