Potato Leek Soup


3 large leeks

2 Tbs. olive oil or butter

4 c. low-sodium chicken broth or mild-tasting vegetable broth

2 lbs. Yukon gold or Russet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 bay leaf

1-2 sprigs fresh thyme (or ½ tsp. dried thyme)

¼ c. chopped fresh parsley (or another chopped fresh herb)

dash of hot sauce (optional)

salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste



Clean the leeks by making a lengthwise cut in them and rinsing them thoroughly under running water.  Trim the root ends and the dark green tops; discard.  (Alternatively, you can save the tops to make vegetable stock.*)  Slice the leeks crosswise into slices about ¼ inch thick.

Heat olive oil or butter in a large (3 or 4 quarts) stockpot over medium heat.  When heated, add the leeks and stir to coat.  Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until leeks are softened, about 10 minutes.  Stir occasionally if needed to prevent the leeks from browning.  

When leeks are softened, add broth, diced potatoes, bay leaf, and thyme.  Increase heat to high, bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to a level that maintains a low simmer.  Cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.  Remove bay leaf and thyme sprigs and discard.  For a chunky soup, use an immersion blender to blend half the soup, or blend half of it in a regular blender, being extremely careful to avoid splashing.  For a smoother soup, blend the entire soup with the immersion blender, or blend in a regular blender in two batches (again, be careful to avoid splashes!).  Add a few dashes of hot sauce, if using, to taste.  Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.  

Recipe adapted from http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/potato_leek_soup/

* See this link for a method to make your own vegetable stock: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-vegetable-stock-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-136725


Irish Potato-Kale Soup


1 Tbs. olive oil

2 Tbs. butter (or 2 additional Tbs. olive oil)

1 c. diced onion

4 c. chopped kale (remove large ribs before chopping), or 4 c. sliced cabbage, or a mixture of each

4 c. peeled, diced Russet potatoes (about 3 pounds)

4 c. low-sodium chicken broth (or mildly flavored low-sodium vegetable broth)

2 c. water

2 bay leaves

1 tsp. salt

⅓ c. heavy cream

freshly ground pepper, to taste

4 green onions, thinly sliced



Heat olive oil and butter in a large stockpot over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook until translucent and starting to brown, about 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the kale (and/or cabbage) and cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the diced potatoes, chicken broth (or vegetable broth), water, bay leaves, and salt.  Increase heat to bring to a simmer.  Cook until potatoes are softened and starting to fall apart, about 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and add the heavy cream, along with freshly ground pepper to taste.  Stir in the sliced green onions.  Add more salt to taste, if needed.  Remove bay leaves before serving.

Creamy Broccoli Soup


1 Tbs. olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 c. low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

2 c. water

1 ½ c. diced peeled potato

1 can low-sodium cannellini beans, rinsed well and drained

1 pound broccoli, trimmed and chopped

salt and pepper, to taste

¼ c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)



Heat oil in a large soup or stock pot over medium heat.  Add onion and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and starting to brown.  Add garlic and cook for an additional minute, stirring constantly.  Add broth, water, and potato and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are just tender, about 10 minutes.  Add beans and broccoli; cook until broccoli is tender, about 10-12 minutes.  Use an immersion blender to blend the soup until smooth.*  Add salt and pepper to taste.  When serving, sprinkle each bowl with a bit of grated Parmesan cheese (if desired).  


*Note: If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can blend the soup in two batches in a regular blender, removing the center piece of the blender lid and covering with a kitchen towel (to let steam escape but protect from splashes).  Return the blended soup to the pot and reheat to desired serving temperature.