Favorite Summer Soup: Leek, Fennel, Onion and Potato
- Ready In:
- 1hr 30mins
- 2 leeks, chopped (cleaned well but just soaking in some water and letting the dirt or sediment settle to the bottom, 1)
- 3 large sweet onions, cut in half and thin sliced (4 cups approximately)
- 1⁄4 lb fennel bulb, and part of the stem the tender part close to the bulb (1/2 to 3/4 cup)
- 3 potatoes, peeled and diced fine (2 cups)
- 3 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 4 cups chicken stock or 4 cups broth
- 1⁄2 cup sherry wine
- 3⁄4 cup heavy cream
- 1⁄4 - 1⁄2 cup instant potato flakes
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 dash grated nutmeg
- 1⁄4 cup fresh parsley, chopped fine (reserve some for a garnish)
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped fine
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 cremini mushrooms, cut in half
- 1⁄8 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Vegetables -- To a large pot, add the olive oil and butter and bring to medium heat. Add the garlic, then the leeks and fennel, onion slowly cook on medium heat until lightly golden brown, but not dark brown. Just a slow caramelizing works best for this.
- Potatoes -- Add the potatoes and mix just to combine the flavors. Add the herbs and seasoning, (rosemary, thyme, parsley -- reserving some for a garnish, salt and pepper and nutmeg). Cook 5 minutes.
- Sauce -- Add the sherry, to deglaze the pan slightly, then the chicken broth and mix well. Cook 30 minutes on a low simmer until the potatoes fall apart.
- My trick -- Instant potato flakes. Rather than corn starch in soups to thicken -- I love potato flakes. Just add them in, nothing more. A instant light thickening with some taste. I like to add 1/4-1/2 cup. Just add to the broth and it will slightly thicken without a fake corn starch or flour taste.
- Finish -- Add the heavy cream to finish it off. Just heat and season with any salt and pepper to taste.
- If you want and I love these -- balsamic mushrooms, just toss in a baggie, the mushrooms, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add to a cookie sheet topped with foil and roast at 450 for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Just slice and then top the soup.
- Well worth making it. A bowl of this, a salad, a fresh tomato panini anything. So good and comforting.
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<p>Growing up in Michigan, I spent my summers at my cottage in the Northern part up by Traverscity. On a lake, big garden which had all the vegetables you could imagine. My mom taught school, so summers were our vacation time. Gramps and I fished all the time so fresh fish was always on the menu, perch, blue gill, walleye and small and large mouth bass. At age 5 I learned how to clean my own fish and by 10 I was making dinner, canning vegetables and fruits, making pies and fresh breads. Apples fresh picked every fall, strawberries in June and July, Cherries at the Cherry Festival in Traverscity. So fresh foods always were a big part. Mom worked as a teacher during the year so dinner was more traditional with pot roasts, meatloaf, etc, but it seemed we always had fresh fruits and vegetables as part of the meal. Mom also didn't use as many spices as I do, but times were different back then. <br /> <br />So ... My motto is ... There is NO Right and NO Wrong with cooking. So many people thing they have to follow a recipe. But NO ... a recipe is a method and directions to help and teach someone. Cooking is about personal tastes and flavors. I love garlic ... and another person may not. I like heat ... but you may not. Recipes are building blocks, NOT text ground in stone. Use them to make and build on. Even my recipes I don't follow most times --They are a base. That is what cooking is to me. A base of layer upon layer of flavors. <br /> <br />I still dislike using canned soups or packaged gravies/seasoning ... but I admit, I do use them. I have a few recipes that use them. But I try to strive to teach people to use fresh ingredients, they are first ... so much healthier for you ... and second, in the end less expensive. But we all have our moments including me. <br /> <br />So, lets see ... In the past, I have worked as a hostess, bartender, waitress, then a short order cook, salad girl in the kitchen, sort of assistant chef, head chef, co owner of a restaurant ... now a consultant to a catering company/restaurant, I cater myself and I'm a personal chef for a elderly lady. I work doing data entry during the day, and now and then try to have fun which is not very often due to my job(s). <br /> <br />I have a 21 year old who at times is going on 12, aren't they all. Was married and now single and just trying to enjoy life one day at a time. I'm writing a cookbook ... name is still in the works but it is dedicated to those people who never learned, to cook. Single Moms, Dads, or Just Busy Parents. Those individuals that think you can't make a great dinner for not a lot of money. You can entertain on a budget and I want people to know that gourmet tasting food doesn't have to be from a can of soup or a box, and healthy food doesn't come from a drive through. There are some really good meals that people can make which are healthy and will save money but taste amazing. So I guess that is my current goal. We all take short cuts and I have no problem with that - I do it too. I volunteer and make food for the homeless every couple of months, donating my time and money. I usually make soup for them and many times get donations from a local grocery stores, Sams Club, Walmart etc, with broth, and vegetables. It makes my cost very little and well worth every minute I spend. Like anyone, life is always trying to figure things out and do the best we can and have fun some how along the way.</p>