Even as I write this at 3 pm in the afternoon, I feel the darkness encroaching...I hate daylight savings. Elsewhere in the world, people live just fine without daylight savings...why must we be tortured un-needlessly? Getting up in the morning in the dark, and having it become dark before I even leave work in the afternoons makes me tired and cranky...especially when it wasn't like that only a few days ago! Plus, the days are colder and we haven't re-supplied our woodpile for the winter yet and have no heat. All of this makes me crave lots comfort foods...bread (lots of bread), lasagne, shephard's pies, and warm, fill-your-belly soups. I saw this recipe a month ago and wanted to make it, but just hadn't got around to it. Then, daylight savings crept up on me, and my hips, thighs and butt started screaming out to me for more padding..."We need warmth! Feed us!" ...one must always keep her hips, thighs and butt happy!
I gathered up all the ingredients, pulled the rest of the leeks from the garden, chopped the potatoes up and threw everything in the pot besides the cream. It was really quick and easy, and incredibly creamy for having only 1/3 cup of cream stirred into it at the end (but I think it would be just as yummy even without the cream for my non-dairy friends). The toasts are great - satisfyingly crunchy and meltingly cheesy; and it makes wonderful leftovers (well, I'd make the toasts fresh, of course). I'll definitely make both again and may even keep the toast recipe in my repertoir for other dinners or snacks as well.
Golden Potato Leek Soup with Cheddar Toasts, from Cooking Light
1 tablespoon butter
3 cups thinly sliced leek (about 3 medium)
6 cups cubed peeled Yukon gold potato (about 2 1/4 pounds)
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 (14-ounce) cans vegetable stock...or an equivalent amount of homemade
2 thyme sprigs
8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices diagonally cut sourdough French bread baguette
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper or I used paprika b/c for some reason I can't find ground red pepper to save my life...is there something I'm missing here???
1/3 cup whipping cream
freshly ground black pepper to taste
fresh thyme (optional)
Preheat oven to 375°F.
To prepare soup, melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add leek; cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally (do not brown). Add potatoes, water, salt, broth, and 2 thyme sprigs. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes or until potatoes are very tender.
To prepare cheddar toasts, place baguette slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 7 minutes or until toasted. Turn slices over; coat with cooking spray, and sprinkle 1 tablespoon cheese over each slice. Bake 5 minutes or until cheese melts. Sprinkle evenly with red pepper.
Remove pan from heat; discard thyme sprigs (they lose most of their leaves in the soup). Partially mash potatoes with a potato masher; stir in cream. Sprinkle with lots of black pepper, and fresh thyme...this really helps with the flavor...and I added a little extra salt. Serve with cheddar toasts. Other garnishes could include bacon and/or cheese for extra pizazz and flavor.
Yield: 8 servings (serving size: about 1 cup soup and 1 toast)
CALORIES 299(25% from fat); FAT 8.6g (sat 4.7g,mono 2.7g,poly 0.6g)