You may be surprised to know that I am a tad soup-shy. Perhaps this is because I grew up around the most umami-imbued matzoh ball soup (Grandma) and crunktastic cream of carrot soup (Dad). When asked what food I wanted to celebrate my birthday, I chose cream of carrot soup. I was 7. Perhaps I was a rabbit in a past life. Wouldn’t surprise me. At Passover (happy Pasach by the way), I had no problem sneaking an extra matzoh ball in the kitchen pretending I had gone to the restroom (and a sugar cube to boot…did your grandma have sugar cubes?). And then when my grandma asked, “Who wants another ball?” I’d raise my hand. Her broth had little carrot pillows suspended throughout and a proprietary spice blend. Also, my dad was prone to crooning “Beautiful Soup!,” around the house and at random cooking moments which may have subliminally scared me that I’m set up to fail. Fast forward to 2013. I have deep soup galoshes to fill.
So when my dad mentioned he was whipping up a parsnip-y, potato-y soup concoction recently (he had me at “parsnip”), I admonished: send me the recipe! He wrote it all down with room for variations (and I did take some liberties), hints, tricks and tips. I made it. And I only called him twice for clarifications and support. And it was bangin’.
Grandpa D’s Potato Leek Soup aka Vichyssoise a la Ritz*
4 Leeks, white part, sliced (I used 3 mondo ones)
2 Parsnips, thinly sliced (I used 4)
1/4 Cup Sweet Butter
1 Medium Onion, sliced (I used a half)
5 Medium Potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced (I used 6)
1 Quart Chicken Broth
3 Cups Milk (I used 3.5 cups)
2 Cups Cream (I used 1.5 cups 1/2 and 1/2)
Instructions: In a deep kettle, brown leeks and onion very lightly in butter. Add parsnips and continue to brown for a few minutes. Pour in broth, add potatoes and boil until very tender. Immersion blend (or otherwise crush, sieve or puree). Add milk and cream. Stir, cool and chill. You may vary the quantity of potatoes, parsnips, milk, cream and even butter to you’re tastes – it shall be good as long as, according to Grandpa D, “you love creamy potatoes in some state of liquidity.”
In his recipe notes, he calls this is “a soup to be reckoned with, versatile, and killer-diller in most any circumstance.” I have to agree – it was a divine liquid. We keep eating it with W’s home made bread and mmming! Side note: the kitchen implement that has most helped me break out of my soup shell is my immersion blender. It’s on my (non existent, maybe I should make one) top 5 list of things one really should have in their kitchen. It’s so easy to use, I held WV while blending – he enjoyed listening to and watching it.
An added bonus to making soup is that it generates a ton of compostable goodies. And I’m all about that.
Today, at the encouragement and behest of dear new friends, I am attempting a 24-hour crock pot bone broth. We shall see. We shall see.
* See NY Times Cookbook (1961) p. 83 for Vichyssoise a la Ritz; In my parents’ copy, my mom wrote, “June 21, 1992, Father’s Day, Delicious!”