I love the hell out of my immersion blender. Okay, to be fair, I got the blender for Jake for his birthday a few years ago. But I use it a lot too. I love the way it makes a chunky soup smooth in just minutes. I love that I don't have to worry about pouring hot liquid into my blender, because I just know I'd end up with scalding skin. I don't love the cramps it gives my hand, but it's a small price to pay for a smooth soup.
I also love the hell out of the How to Cook Everything app. Mark Bittman is a genius, and to have an amazing cookbook literally at my fingertips, where I can export a shopping list and refer to how-tos without having to flip pages is a huge bonus. (Fellow bookworms, don't throw tomatoes at me: I have plenty of real-and-true cookbooks, too!) And so here's what I did with his recipe for Potato-Leek Soup. I hope it warms your home as much as it did mine.
(Recipe after the jump.)
(Adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
3 leeks, white and light green parts, washed and sliced into thin rings
Salt & pepper
4 cups vegetable stock (you can use beef or chicken too, but I was intrigued by making a fully-vegetarian meal)
1/2 cup sour cream
First things first: washing leeks is completely necessary. The sheer amount of dirt that came off of my leeks was insane, and I shudder to think how the soup would have tasted or felt with that dirt inside. After cutting off the roots and dark green leaves, I split the leeks lengthwise, then cut each half into thin slices crosswise. I put all of the pieces in a bowl, covered with cold water, and swished it around. Then, I drained the bowl into a colander. Lather (not really), rinse (really), and repeat. Marvel over the dirt left over in the bowl.
Put the oil in a dutch oven (or other large pot) over medium heat. When hot, add the potatoes, leeks, and salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables start to soften, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes.
Add the stock, heat until it bubbles (you might have to up the heat), and let simmer until the potatoes are very soft, about 20-30 minutes. You can serve the soup as-is, or take out your trusty blender (as I did), and blend until the texture is consistent. Stir in sour cream; if you've put the soup in a blender rather than using your immersion blender, you may have to heat it back up to serve.
Add more salt and pepper to taste--I used white pepper for aesthetics, but black pepper would work just as well--and serve.