Mamma's Potato Leek Soup

Happy New Year!  It is hard to believe that 2020 is here.  We hope your celebrations were everything you hoped for and that you are renewed and excited for this fresh new year.  When the producers of KUTV Fresh Living asked me to give them my favorite winter comfort food, there was no doubt which one I would pick.  Our family's most requested soup in Momma's Potato Leek Soup. 

For years this has been our kiddos taste of home.  It is so simple to make, and yet if you skimp on time by substituting anything on the can tell!  Trust me, I have tried and have heard the complaints.  Our family takes their potato soup very seriously!  

If you haven't cooked with Leeks before, you are in for a treat.  You can watch today's segment on KUTV Fresh Living to see how to wash and prepare leeks, but let me give you a quick review. 

Leeks are a part of the onion family.  They are sweeter and more mild than your regular onions and add a rich flavor to any dish.  My favorite way to eat them in saute in butter and olive oil with a little sea salt.  They are so good all by them selves, but when added this soup they are out of this world.  

You can find leeks in most grocery stores or if you are lucky and live on a beautiful farm in upstate NY...they grow in the woods.  I know first hand about that.  In the spring my cousins and aunts trek to the woods and gather the leeks from the dark rich soil.   The earthy smell of soil and sweet leeks is one of my favorite scent memories.  The family gathers for a ham and leek dinner cooked together in the farmhouse kitchen.   Yes, it is as magical as it sounds.  Because I live a thousand miles away from our family farm in the west, I go to my local produce store and can find them in the greens.

Leeks are not only delicious, but super good for you.  They are natures antibiotic, with powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  They help support a healthy digestive tract by keeping good stuff growing and eliminating the bad stuff growing in our tubes.  They are the oldest recorded vegetable and it's easy to see why.... good for you and good to eat.

They grow in soil, so make sure you wash them well.  Choose stalks that have white ends, light green in the middle and dark green tops.  You want to avoid the brown or yellowish greens, as they are not so fresh.  When you get the stalk home, trim off the roots and the top dark green.   I trim about two inches above the white.  I love the greens, but the top of the stalks are tough, so just use the light to medium green parts above the white.  Cut them as you would an onion, slice, chop or roast whole.  A little Olive Oil and Sea Salt and you have a fabulous side.

So, with the introduction of Leeks and how to use them we are ready to make this Oh soooo good, over the moon, Momma's Potato Leek Soup...

Momma's Potato Leek Soup

10 to 12 Large Golden Potatoes (peeled and cut into 1/2" chunks)
1/2 Gallon Whole Milk
3 Cups Chicken Broth
1/2 Cup + 3 Tbs. Butter
Olive Oil
2 Large Leeks (washed, sliced, and chopped)
3 Cloves Garlic
2 Cups Chopped Bacon 
4 Cups Grated Cheddar Cheese
2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
Flaky Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper

Place peeled and chopped potatoes into a large pan and cover with water.   Add salt and boil until the potatoes are fork tender.  While the potatoes are cooking wash, slice and chop your leeks into 1/4" slices.  Chop your fresh garlic.  Heat a 1/2 cup of butter and 2 Tbs of Olive Oil in a frying pan.  When the butter is melted, add the garlic and leeks.  Sprinkle with some Flaky Salt and saute until the greens are bright and the white is slightly translucent.  Set aside.

Once your potatoes are fork tender, drain potatoes into a colander until the water is removed.  Add potatoes back into the pan, saving 2 cups of potato chunks to the side. Add softened butter and let melt over hot potatoes for a few minutes. Using an immersion blender or a hand mixer, mash the potatoes until they are soft.  

Add the chicken broth, and milk and mix until you get the consistency that you prefer.  I like my soup thick, but my husband like his thin.  Which ever way you like it, add the milk to that consistency. Once this is blended, add the saute leeks and reserved potato chunks. Stir in and let simmer on low to medium heat until everything is warm.  Salt and pepper to taste.  

Serve garnished with cheddar cheese, bacon, chopped parsley or cilantro and green onion!

I promise you, this will be your new favorite go to comfort food forever!  It is the soup that all of our children request when they come home and it is so worth the added bit of love to peel your potatoes and saute those is a sure bit of heaven in a bowl.

Enjoy xo

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