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.
March 2nd, 2016 at 9:29 am
H/T for the Best in Show reference there. Also, everything you said about the election, right down to the evil vagina thing – bullseye. And of course, yay for soup. Always. xx
March 2nd, 2016 at 9:31 am
also, not h/t, but thumbs up. i’m not sure why i wrote h/t… as i just said to my colleague, i’m losing my mind.
March 2nd, 2016 at 10:33 am
oof, following the U.S. election has seriously been like watching a circus for me (I’m Canadian) and it’s hard to think that some of these people are for real…soup should at least help for a little bit…at least for a few more weeks! haha
March 2nd, 2016 at 10:43 am
my favorite soup, and my feelings exactly about this election. more reasons to love you
March 2nd, 2016 at 11:37 am
Been doing a lot of cooking with leeks lately, so I’m glad to have this recipe. And yes, this election season is brutal, ugly, and downright scary.
March 2nd, 2016 at 12:00 pm
You summed up the election perfectly, exactly how I feel, and you made my day letting me know I (and hubby) are not alone with this assessment! Soup looks delicious, I will give it a try.
March 2nd, 2016 at 12:23 pm
Love potato soup…time to do it with leeks, nice recipe. I despise election years…but this is the first time I actually feel terrified at the possibilities. Thank God my freezer is stocked with Minestrone Soup.
March 2nd, 2016 at 12:50 pm
I hear you Tim. Thanks for searching and creating common ground. Your soup looks awesome and perfect for right now. D
March 2nd, 2016 at 1:45 pm
Yes! I second all of the previous comments. This race is so ugly and desperate on both sides. I’m glad to know I’m not alone in these thoughts because that fb feed can really make you feel like an island. This has brightened my day. Thanks!
Leslie B. says:
March 2nd, 2016 at 7:57 pm
Soup! The great unifier! Thanks for the much needed chuckle.
March 3rd, 2016 at 12:19 pm
iam really done with the liberals. they voted for Obama and
now you guys want Hilary of Bernie. Get real. you did got. .
8 years of Obama what a mess and i am democrat !
March 3rd, 2016 at 1:17 pm
Us liberals are the worst, Gai! Best stay clear!
March 3rd, 2016 at 11:21 pm
Believe it or not, soup is a divisive issue in my household (I love it, the other two members believe ramen is the only soup worth eating). But we agree on politics!
March 5th, 2016 at 8:55 am
Cheers! Amen! Hoorah! I’m right there with you. It’s a sad state of affairs on social media, TV, radio, etc., etc. Hopefully we’ll have a miracle candidate come out of no where and save us all. Until then… soup!
March 6th, 2016 at 9:47 pm
Soup looks tasty, but who made the bowls? Love them!
March 7th, 2016 at 11:15 am
I’ve been yelling at the tv (and my phone and at the work lunch table and in my car listening to the radio) a lot too. Cheers to surviving the summer
March 8th, 2016 at 6:44 pm
Great post title, Tim, and I agree — soup can sometimes be the one common denominator. I try not to watch television, lest I scare the kiddos with my yelling :/
March 16th, 2016 at 7:49 am
Thank you for the wonderful recipe, photos, and your sincere thoughts on this shit show we can an election. I agree with you 1000% on both the horror of the rise of white supremacy (normalization of it anyway) fomented by the Trump campaign and the flagrant misogyny, often on the part of “liberals” regarding Hillary Clinton’s run. God help us. Soup sounds good right now.
March 16th, 2016 at 12:16 pm
I’ve been feeling an equal amount of sadness at the situation. It seems so much optimism from 8 years ago has now been replaced with hatred and even violence. I think we all need a little more creamy, comforting soup and less politics.
March 29th, 2016 at 7:22 am
Thanks for your thoughts. I personally have had to scale back my NPR and TV watching the anxiety is is getting overwhelming. The soup looks fantastic and with some cold weather coming I will make it this weekend thank you!