A few weeks ago we got leeks and potatoes in our CSA box and Irving requested potato leek soup—pretty logical request! As always, I couldn’t leave well enough alone, and started looking at recipes where I could use potatoes and leeks, but do something a little less obvious. I stumbled across this recipe in a cookbook my mom gave me a few years ago—Outstanding in the Field. I ran it past Irving to make sure he had no major objections and that it would satisfy his craving. He gave it a green light and I got to work in the kitchen. I meant to post this a few weeks ago, but obviously that never happened. However, I had frozen a few servings when I made it so that I would have something yummy to eat while Irving was travelling that didn’t require cooking. I pulled this out for my sister on Thursday night and it was just as delicious as the first night, and it reminded me to get this recipe up for you! Now that evenings are pretty chilly, this is a perfect warm meal with a small salad and some yummy bread for dipping and scooping up the soup. Enjoy!
Corn Chowder with Potatoes and Leeks, adapted from Outstanding in the Field
6 ears sweet corn, husked (see note***)
2 large leeks
1 rib celery
2 fresh or dried bay leaves
1 -2 T extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes (red potatoes would be great too)
1 tsp dried thyme
parsley for garnish
Hold an ear of corn upright on its end and use a sharp knife to cut off the kernels. Once all of the kernels have been removed, use the knife to scrape all of the juice and remaining bits of kernel from the cobs into a bowl. Repeat with the remaining ears. Set the kernels and juice aside.
Cut the cobs in half and place them in a stockpot. Cut one of the onions into quarters. Cut one of the carrots and the celery into a few large pieces and add them, the quartered onion, and the bay leaves to the stockpot. Cover the contents with cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so the mixture simmers. Cook until fragrant, about 1 hour. Strain the stock, discarding the solids, and set aside.
***You could also use veggie stock or water with adjusted seasonings and this would still be delicious! It’s fun to say you made your own corn stock though, so if you have the time give it a shot! (And if you don’t make the corn stock, you could skip the corn on the cob and use frozen corn).
Cut the 2 leeks and carrot into small dice. Wash the leeks very well—leeks are grown in sandy soil and tend to be very dirty! In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the leeks and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the carrot and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrot begins to soften, 7 to 10 minutes.
Add the diced potatoes, thyme, the corn and corn juice, and about 1 teaspoon salt to the onions and carrot. Stir to combine and cook for 2 minutes. Add the corn stock to cover and raise the heat to bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, 20 to 25 minutes, adding stock or water to cover if needed.
Using an immersion blender, puree about half of the soup (depending on your preference), leaving some of it chunky. Garnish with parsley and serve!