Anybody who followed my previous blog will know that I have a fondness for food. Or, more exactly, a fondness for cooking food.
This comes from my mum having been an accomplished chef herself and her having taught me the basics of the kitchen. Also, she had a collection of 1950s and 60s cookbooks from the likes of Woman’s Own and Good Housekeeping which were full of recipe collections like “Eating To Put On Weight”, “How To Set A Table For When Royalty Visits” and “Food That Wards-Off Polio”, such is the wonderful way of 1950s and 60s magazines. As an easily-bored voracious reader, I devoured these books as much as I did my Target Doctor Who novelisations.
I get a vegbox every week from Abel and Cole. I got put on to the idea by Scott, who I goaded by Twitter into signing up first so I could hear back whether it was worth it. It was, so I did. And it remains so.
This week’s box had leeks, potatoes and onions in it. Well, it almost always has onions in it, and always has potatoes in it, but the leeks are reappearing after a break. That means, to me, the opportunity to make my mum’s chunky Cream of Leek and Potato Soup. Also, for some obscure reason we’re really not keeping up with the milkman at the moment and if I didn’t find a recipe that could use 4 to 8 pints of semi-skimmed very quickly, by Monday there was a real risk of drowning.
The joy of this soup is that it is so very very filling for so little little money. A huge batch made in a big pot lasts for days and days, because with [cover Lord Woolton’s eyes, someone] a couple of slices of bread, a bowl of it fills you up for literally hours and hours. Have it late and you may not need breakfast. It reheats well for a long time after cooking, and it freezes well too. Who needs anything more?
Since, it turns out, this new blog is going to keep the foody element of the last one and just add insults and politics, here’s the recipe.
- 3-4 leeks, topped, tailed and sliced thickly
- An onion, diced small
- Potatoes, diced large
- Lots of milk
- Knob of butter/glug of oil
- Garlic, if wanted
- Couple of stock cubes (veg or chicken)
- A very large pan, preferably with a heavy bottom
Start by making a roux (a white sauce) from the butter/oil and the onions and garlic. Keep adding more and more milk until it’s as much as you could see yourself eating in the next few days. Crumble in the stock (and salt and pepper if you cook with salt), add the leeks, add the potatoes and very, very gently bring up to the boil.
It’s milk. If you turn your back, it’ll rush up at you and go everywhere, or else it’ll look placid whilst catching on the bottom. Be gentle with the heat but vigorous with the stirring. Once it starts to bubble vigorously but before it starts to rise at you, take the heat off completely, cover and wait. The soup will cook under its own heat in the next half hour.
After half an hour, uncover, give it a stir and put it on the smallest burner/ring at a low temperature and gently bring it back to eating heat – not boiling. It’s done when the largest cube of potato you can find is soft all the way through, but that should’ve happened earlier than now. If it’s not soft, keep it on that low heat, stirring to stop the soup from catching, until it is.
Serve with crusty bread and some brie if you’re feeling flush.