This election season is rough, and November is still months away. On the one hand we have people promising to “make America great again!”, which is really coded language for “Save the white-supremacist patriarchy!”. On the other hand we have my current (decidedly liberal) Facebook feed which is suddenly revealing itself to be full of bullies—people who are constantly telling me who to vote for and that the other option is a monster who will destroy us all with her evil vagina (but it definitely isn’t about gender!). I don’t know if I am going to survive the summer.
Elections really highlight the divide that exists in America. It is both disappointing and terrifying to see that we all live in this country together and have come to such different conclusions about what it means to be a community. This year feels particularly outrageous. I yell at the television a lot.
I find myself looking for some common ground, and right now all I can come up with is soup.
This potato and leek soup is a real pleasure to make and perfectly delicious on a cold March day when you are watching election coverage, even though you know better. The cream is optional, but I think important. I’d also like it with a poached egg. Lots of pepper.
Golden Leek and Potato Soup (adapted slightly from NYTimes)
- 2 ½ pounds leeks, white and light green part only
- 2 bay leaves
- 4-6 large sprigs fresh thyme
- 4-6 large sprigs fresh sage
- 4 large sprigs parsley, and chopped leaves for garnish
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter or extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and very thinly sliced
- 8 cups water
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, more to taste
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, more to taste
- 1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, halved and thinly sliced
- Heavy cream, for serving
- Halve the leeks lengthwise and rinse away any grit. Thinly slice the leeks crosswise. In a small square of cheesecloth, tie together bay leaves, thyme, sage, parsley and celery leaves if using.
- Melt the butter or heat the oil in the bottom of a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the leeks and cook, stirring frequently, until leeks are soft and dark golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic for the last 3 minutes of cooking.
- Stir in stock or water, the sachet of herbs, the salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce immediately to medium-low; simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the potatoes and simmer soup until potatoes are very tender and falling apart, about 45 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. If desired, drizzle a small amount of cream into each bowl when serving, and top with parsley for garnish.