I would like to say that Autumn is well and truly upon us but although the leaves have turned and it looks like there should be a chill in the air the weather is still a bit too warm for my liking. I am looking forward to misty mornings and crisp afternoons followed by dark evenings fragrant with turf and wood fire smoke. While I love the flavors and freshness of Summer food I really like food that is comforting, that you can smuggle up with as the long evenings draw in and that is what Autumn and Winter cooking is all about.
Soup is comfort food, hearty, filling and warming. There has been a resurgence in the popularity of soup lately. The stores are full of high quality fresh soups, fully of good ingredients and in so many more flavors than the tomato / mushroom / chicken canned or packet soups of yore. For all the good soups you can now buy there is still nothing like making your own at home. If you roast a chicken keep the carcass and make some stock, pop it in the freezer if you aren’t going to use it straight away and you will already be halfway to a good meal. If you don’t have time or inclination to make your own stock find a good gluten free stock, these are much easier to find than before although they are most likely stacked with the rest of the stocks rather than being in the Gluten Free section of your supermarket, just check the packet to make sure they are gluten free.
This Leek and Potato soup is very thick and velvety, I topped it with crisped pancetta that added a lovely salty crunch. You can thin the soup out with a little more stock or milk if you the consistency is too thick for your liking.
serves 4 – 6
370 grams of potatoes, peeled and diced
370 grams of leeks, white and pale green parts only, washed, halved and sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
50 grams of butter
few sprigs of thyme
600ml of good quality Gluten Free chicken or vegetable stock, hot.
140 ml of cream
125 ml of milk
1 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper
2 60 gram packs of chopped pancetta
Gluten Free bread
- Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pot over a medium heat.
- Add the potatoes, leeks and onion and stir over the medium heat for a few minutes before seasoning with the salt and pepper and adding the sprigs of thym
- Make a cartouche out of some grease proof paper and place in the pot, tightly covering the vegetables. cover the pot with a lid and reduce the heat to medium low and allow to cook for 10 minutes.
- Remove the cartouche and add the heated stock, bring to the boil and allow to simmer until the vegetables are tender and cooked through.
- Using an immersion or jug blender puree the soup, be careful not to splatter your self with the hot liquid!
- Stir in the milk, cream and thyme leaves. Check the seasoning.
- In a pan fry the pancetta in a splash of olive oil until crisp.
- Ladle the soup in to bowls and top with crispy pancetta.
Serve this soup in little cups as a tasty starter or in big bowls with lots of bread for a fairly substantial meal.