Many years ago, I lived on a block of brown row homes lined with smelly gingko trees and raining yellow leaves. Before going in our separate work directions, my dear friend and neighbor Nina and I would share a morning percolator of coffee on one of our stoops. Those were the days! I love my current apartment, but I really miss that stoop on sunny days. I knew all the comings and goings of that block, and perhaps all those comings and goings knew about me as well (what I read, what I ate, what songs my friend strummed on guitars). Since my move and stoop sacrifice, Nina moved to the same neighborhood. Now she and Deanna share an impressively grand stoop just a few blocks from my kitchen. It was time to make proper use of those steps! As the season suddenly changed, it was also time for some warm soup, fresh bread and sharp cheddar.
More of those deliciously fluffy rolls from this dinner. Fortunately, this time around, the dinner only ended in laughter!
Soup ‘n Stoop: Creamy Leek & Potato Soup
3 Tablespoons organic, unsalted butter
2 medium, local leeks, white and light green parts only
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 whole garlic heads
7 cups organic, free-range chicken broth
2 bay leaves
3 medium + 6 small organic, local red potatoes
1/2 cup local heavy cream
Fresh, organic thyme to taste
Ground black pepper to taste
Minced local chives to taste
Fresh, local sage
Halve and wash the leeks before chopping into small pieces.
Cut off and discard the top third of the garlic heads. Remove the loose outer skins.
Peel and wash the potatoes. Cut into ½-inch cubes.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When the foam subsides, add the leek, and cook until softened but not browned, about 5 to 8 minutes.
Stir in the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the garlic heads, broth, bay leaves and ¾ teaspoons of salt.
Partially cover the pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the garlic is very tender when pierced with the tip of the knife, 30-40 minutes.
Add the potatoes and continue to simmer, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender, 15-20 minutes.
Remove and discard the bay leaves.
Remove the garlic heads. Using tongs or paper towels, squeeze the garlic heads at the root end until the cloves slip out of their skins onto a plate. Mash the garlic to a smooth paste.
Stir the cream, thyme and mashed garlic into the soup.
Heat the soup until hot, about 2 minutes.
Use a food processor to puree half of the soup. Return the puree to the pot and stir to combine with the potato chunks.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the chives.
Garnish with fresh sage and thyme.
Pack into a thermos and carry to a stoop.