Last night, while dinner was burgling on the stove, Y. and I realized that almost all of it had come from his garden. The chicken was his; the parsley, beans, garlic, lettuce, and tomatoes were his. So were the leeks and potatoes. The cream came from down the road and the apples, onion, and shallot were local too. The only things that were not local were the wine, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. We decided, once again, that we were very lucky people.
This soup has to be one of the easiest things to put together. You think it's going to be bland: veg boiled in salted water, mashed up, and reheated. But when you start with good veg and add a dollop of crème fraîche, you really can't go wrong. The sweetness of the apples and onions plays nicely against the tartness of the crème fraîche and they both go very well with the velvety potato-leek purée.
Potato Leek Soup with Crème Fraîche and Caramelized Onions and Apples
adapted from Julia's Potage Parmentier
- 1 pound potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 pound leeks, thinly sliced
- 2 quarts water
- 1 Tbs. salt
- 6 Tbs. crème fraîche
- 1 sweet onion
- 1 apple
- Bring leeks, potatoes, water, and salt to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 40-50 minutes, until vegetables are very tender. Purée in batches, transfer to the pot in which you will reheat soup, and set aside.
- Cut your onion in such a way that you are left with long pieces. Cut your apple in half and remove the core with a melon baller. Cut apple into slabs from the top to the bottom, then cut the slabs into small wedges. Heat a couple tablespoons of butter in a small, heavy skillet. Add the onions and apples and stir so everything is coated in butter. Spread the apples and onions so they form a single layer in the pan and reduce heat to low. Let them do their thing for about half an hour, stirring occasionally. Flip the apples so both sides caramelize. If things start to look dry, group onions and apples in the middle of the pan. Once onions and apples are beautifully browned and caramelized transfer to a small dish and set aside.
- To serve: reheat soup. Ladle into bowls. Top each serving with a tablespoon each of crème fraîche and caramelized apples and onion. Sprinkle with coarsely chopped parsley.
A good first course.
You can, of course, make this soup even if you don't have a wonderful boyfriend who showers you with fresh produce, but it certainly helps.