Leek & Potato Soup
by Monica Kass Rogers
“Grandpa started the vegetable regimen on the advice of one Dr. Brown, a vegetarian who promised that such a diet would cure all ailments, and had most of the relatives muttering, – quack.”
Monica Kass Rogers
Grandpa was a powerfully built man, who once worked finishing train cars for Pullman, and was an amateur boxer who went in for prizefighting at White City, an amusement park that used to stand at 63rd Street and South Park Avenue on Chicago’s South Side. At least he used to box, until some beer-drinking buddies dared him to show his strength by breaking a rope tied around his bicep. He broke that rope, but also busted his bicep.
By the time I came on the scene, Grandpa was kinda cranky, walked with a cane, and didn’t have much time for the girls in the grandkids bunch. But he loved pitting my boy cousins against one another in wrestling matches. And he did take us to the park, where he terrified us with tales of the Buhmann (bogeyman) who would grab us if we strayed out of his sight lines—a clever strategy to keep us from running off.
Grandpa started the vegetable regimen on the advice of one Dr. Brown, a vegetarian who promised that such a diet would cure all ailments, and had most of the relatives muttering, “quack.” But Grandpa lived a very long time, we grew to love those vegetables, and I still have his stropping stool, where I perched earlier today to peel the potatoes for this very simple, delicious soup.
I adore leeks, preferring them over onions for their delicate flavor, buttery texture and beautiful color in a soup. If you like, you can add some cooked barley or couscous for extra texture and calories, but I think this soup—just vegetable broth, butter-sauteed leeks, potatoes and lemon—is perfect on its own.
Potato & Leek Soup
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced into bite-sized cubes
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 large leek, cleaned, outer leaves removed, sliced in half lengthwise, and white and yellow parts sliced
- 2 cups homemade or high-quality vegetable broth
- Salt and fresh-cracked pepper to taste
- Juice from ½ fresh lemon
- In a small pot, heat 2 cups water to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer diced potatoes in water until tender. Drain. Set aside.
- While potatoes are simmering, melt butter in small soup pot. Saute sliced leeks until tender. Add cooked potatoes and vegetable broth; heat until broth is hot. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot in bowls with drizzle of fresh lemon.
Monica is a food-business and lifestyles feature writer & photographer with a penchant for reviving vintage recipes. Building on the “Lost Recipes Found” column she originally launched for the Chicago Tribune, Monica now rediscovers vintage in her blog of the same name Lost Recipes Found and continues to write about and photograph contemporary food nationally for restaurants, hotels and magazines.