The simple recipe below comes from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but before we get to that I wanted to share a story. I had brought to Christmas this year a chicken I had raised, from day one through death. I didn't have specific plans on how to cook it, but after receiving Julia Child's book as a gift, I searched in it for a recipe for a broiler chicken. Her recipe for Poulets Grillés a la Diable (Chicken Broiled with Mustard, Herbs, and Bread Crumbs) sounded fabulous, especially since I had received some fancy mustard in my stocking. However, the recipe called for shallots, which we did not have at my grandmother's apartment, nor did we even have onions, and it was 1 pm on Christmas day. Even Wal-Mart was closed. But a garden never closes, and my uncle had mentioned the night before that he still had leeks in his garden. So my dad and I drove to my uncle's, dug up some leeks, grabbed one of his butternut squashes, and returned to my grandma's to cook up a delicious feast. I think Julia Child would have been proud.
And now, potato leek soup, to make using your stored potatoes and the leeks that you've kept in the ground covered in mulch, plus any other seasonal veggies you want to toss in:
Yields about 2 quarts, for 6 to 8 people. You can freeze leftovers to enjoy for a warm and easy meal next month.
3-4 qt saucepan
3-4 cups/1 lb. peeled potatoes, sliced or diced
3 cups/1 lb. thinly sliced leeks including the tender green
2 quarts of water
1 Tbsp salt
4-6 Tbsp whipping cream or 2-3 Tbsp softened butter
2-3 Tbsp minced parsley or chives
Simmer the vegetables, water, and salt together, partially covered, for 40 to 50 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Mash the vegetables in the soup with a fork, or pass the soup through a food mill, or puree in a blender or food processor. Adjust seasoning to taste. At this point it may be set aside uncovered until just before service, then reheated to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in cream or butter. Garnish with herbs.