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  • Writer's pictureChef Dylan

LEEK & POTATO SOUP




Silky smooth slowly poached potatoes infused with my South American Gaucho inspired seasoning combined with buttery sweet leeks, a drizzle of cream and finished with a generous sprinkle of crispy bacon, chives and freshly cracked pepper will have your taste buds singing and dancing like Gene Kelly.

This instalment in the wonderful world of home made soup is my super simple spin on the classic leek and potato soup. Perfect to warm the soul on a cold winters night this delightfully simple soup is very easy to prepare yet is a testament to the artistry of simplicity. kids and oldies alike love it for its flavour and ease of eating. It’s packed with nutrition and is a deceptively easy way to add more vegetables into their diet.


Did you know? Leeks are highly revered by the Welsh. Deep within the ancient mist filled

mountains of Wales where myths and legends intertwine, a tale is told of the humble leek and its rise as a national emblem. Centuries ago, during a fierce battle with invading Saxons, Celtic soldiers led by the heroic St David adorned their helmets with leeks to distinguish themselves from the enemy. As the sun rose, the leeks; vibrant green leaves caught the light, creating a stunning spectacle. Inspired by this glorious sight, the soldiers charged into battle and triumphed over the invaders in a decisive victory, forever linking the leek to Welsh pride. Since then, the leek has flourished as a cherished symbol celebrated on St. David's Day, the national day of Wales, and serves as a stark reminder of Welsh independence, valour and unity.


Chef Dylan tip: 1. Be sure to slice the leek lengthways and peel back the layers to wash

away any dirt and grit that is hiding in there. 2.Take your time when sautéing the leeks to really bring out the sweetness, this also adds depth of flavour to the soup. 3. Use a high-quality stock: the stock forms the base of the soup and greatly influences its flavour. 4.To get nice crispy bacon use streaky bacon and place the bacon strips in a cold skillet or frying pan. This allows the fat to render slowly and evenly, resulting in crispier bacon. 5.Use Sabago potatoes (the ones with dirt on them) 6. Cook the potatoes until nice and soft and don’t over blend the soup as this will activate the starch and can make the texture gluey.


Memory Lane Paris, France 2005

The train doors exhale with a hiss, I now stand within the bustling underground confines of the Metro station bearing the name of the renowned microbiologist, Louis Pasteur. The air hangs heavy and humid, saturated with a mélange of the aroma of screeching brakes, wafts of tobacco, French perfume, and a hint of urban sewage. Navigating the labyrinthine tunnels alongside the bustling throng of commuters, we emerge to the surface, dispersing like ants from a rain-soaked nest. The gridlocked streets echo with honking cars interwoven with the harmonious melodies of a talented nearby busker.


Carefully unfolding my small map, I locate the restaurant, a mere two blocks away. As I stroll, vibrant open bars line the sidewalks, alive with stylish connoisseurs and fashionistas their glasses brimming with blood red wine, enveloped in a haze of smoke and conversation. I turn into a narrow alley, and there I spy the name of the restaurant adorned with golden gilded lettering. A tingle dances across my skin, my heartbeat quickens. This is the moment I have yearned for, six months on a waitlist. One of Paris' most secret establishments, renowned for their culinary prowess, mastery of ingredients, and the formidable art of transforming complexity into simplicity, chefs who have long established a reputation that transcends the ordinary.


The calibre of chefs boast obsessional dedication to their craft, wizards creating magic in the kitchen, infusing each dish with a touch of gastronomic sorcery. Exceptional cooking techniques transform the simplest of ingredients to new heights, orchestrating delightfully delicate flavours that dance across the palate. With discerning eyes for quality, they meticulously source the finest ingredients, ensuring that each component contributes to a symphony to savour. From the precision of their knife work to the delicate balance of flavours, these culinary alchemists possess a rare gift that leaves diners in awe and longing for more.


As I arrive my eyes fixate upon a small elegant chalkboard, meticulously inscribed with tonight;s offerings. With the aid of my pocket translator, I decipher the menu: Leek and potato soup as the entrée, followed by fillet of 90 day aged beef accompanied with white asparagus, French beans, duchess potatoes and beef jus. And for dessert, the quintessential Creme brûlée. The cost, 99 Euros, or with matched wine, 149. My mouth salivating, I take a deep breath, steeling myself, as I gently push open the ancient door, ready to embark on this epicurean adventure of a lifetime.


PREP TIME: 10mins

COOK TIME: 35mins

SERVES 4-6


INGREDIENTS

  • 4 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced

  • 1kg Sabago potatoes, peeled and diced 3cm chunks

  • 4 rashes of streaky bacon

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 1.5 litres vegetable or chicken stock

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

  • 2 tablespoons GAUCHO

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • Cracked pepper to taste

  • Chopped fresh chives for garnish


METHOD

  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks, onion, and garlic, and cook stirring until fragrant then turn down low and cook until nicely softened, about 5-7 minutes. Then add GAUCHO and stir through.

  2. Add the diced potatoes to the pot and pour in the vegetable or chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are very tender, about 15-20 minutes.

  3. In a cold fry pan place in the bacon then turn on to med/low heat, slowly crisp up one side then flip to finish. Remove and place on a paper towel to absorb some fat.

  4. Using an immersion/hand blender or a countertop blender, puree the soup in the pot until just

  5. smooth and creamy. If using a countertop blender, be sure to blend in batches and allow the soup to cool slightly before blending.

  6. Stir in the heavy cream. Taste and season with a little more salt to your taste. Heat the soup over low heat until warmed through, be sure to avoid boiling.

  7. Place into bowls and sprinkle on the broken up bacon bits, chives and crack some pepper on top.


TO SERVE


Serve with French baguette or buttered toast.







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