This dish shows the power of toothsome ingredients, pure flavors, and dedication to technique. It is a quite simple dish, but by using a great quality stock, lovely fresh ingredients that pack flavor, and by spending the extra time to run the soup through a fine mesh sieve, it is transformed into a beautifully smooth, subtly sensuous, explosion of flavor. Done wrong – which is quite often – it is a thick, gluggy bowl of wallpaper paste. I definitely recommend adding the goat cheese; the acidity and tang of the goat cheese lightens the entire soup and lifts the palate. Prepare to be amazed at what a simple potato soup can deliver.
- 60 g (approximately 4 tablespoons) butter
- 1 kg potatoes (roughly 2 pounds); washed, peeled, and cut into 0.5 mm (roughly ¼ inch) slices
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil
- 4 medium leeks; white parts washed and sliced thinly, dark greens washed and sliced in half
- 1 medium white onion, sliced thinly
- 2 L (approximately 2 quarts) chicken stock (may use vegetable stock for vegetarian version)
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 sprigs fresh tarragon
- 250 mL (approximately 1 cup) heavy cream
- 175 g (approximately 6 ounces) truffle goat cheese or other goat cheese (optional)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- salt and white pepper to taste
- 1 shallot sliced thinly – for garnish
- one clove of garlic sliced thinly – for garnish
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil
- chives, sliced thinly – for garnish
In a medium saucepan heat the butter, when the butter is foaming add the chopped white portions of the leeks and the onion, season lightly with salt, and cook over medium low heat until the vegetables are softened, approximately eight minutes. You just want the vegetables softened, do not allow them to brown or obtain any color.
In the large stock pot over medium heat add the oil. Add the dark green portion of the leeks, the bay leaf, and the tarragon. Sauté over medium high heat for approximately three minutes to bring out the aromatics. Add the stock. Bring to a boil, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 20 to 30 minutes to extract the flavors. Run the liquid to a fine mesh strainer and discard the solids. Return the liquid to the stockpot.
Add the softened white portion of the leeks, onions, and the potatoes to the liquid and stockpot. Bring to a boil, cover the pot, reduce the heat, and allow to simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. The potatoes should be tender.
Add the goat cheese (if using).
Either in small batches in the blender or by using an immersion blender, blend the mixture until smooth. Run through a fine mesh strainer.
Return the mixture to the stockpot. Add the cream, mix and then add the lemon juice and season with salt, and white pepper.
For the crispy shallot and garlic chip garnish, heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced garlic and cook until just lightly browned and crispy. Remove the garlic. Add the thinly sliced shallot and cook until lightly browned and crispy.
To serve, place the soup in a bowl and add the desired garnish.