We spent time with Julia Child on HBO Max airing “Julia.” I’m always worried about Julia’s portrayal, I’m afraid my mentor will be portrayed in an exaggerated and unflattering way. But once I got into the first episode, I relaxed and felt like I was enjoying my precious time with the woman who inspired my career long ago.
Yes, I was delighted and thirsty for the classic French casserole that combines shallots and potatoes. Julia’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” (Knopf) recipe for leek and potato soup has an attractive short ingredient list. I’ve adapted it over decades, made small modifications here and there, and used an immersion blender (stick) instead of a food grinder.
When soup is served cold it is called “vichyssoise”. Eaten hot or cold, there is nothing difficult to make.
Garlic and potato soup
fruit: 8 servings
6 medium-sized leeks, white and light green only
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium and large potatoes, such as russets, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
5 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish: fresh chives or dark green slices of green onions
Cook notes: If desired, garnish each serving with 1 teaspoon of cooled basil pesto (a spoonful of extra oil before adding).
1. Use only the white and light green part of the shallot. Trim the roots and cut in half lengthwise. Cut crosswise into 1/2 inch strips. Place them in a small bowl of cold water and rotate them to remove any grit; Catch leeks slices and filtered.
2. In a Dutch oven or 5-liter saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring constantly, for 8 minutes, until softened. Add potatoes and broth. Bring it to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until softened, about 30 minutes. keep 1 cup of broth; This can be added as needed after adding the cream to reach the desired consistency. Sometimes all the broth is needed, but it’s not consistent. You want a creamy, somewhat thick consistency.
3. Puree the soup with an immersion blender or in batches in a food processor. Return the puree to the pot and heat. Stir in cream and season generously with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with sliced dark green onions or chives.