Potato Leek Buttermilk Soup with Smokey-spiced Croutons and Chive Oil

potato leek buttermilk soup

Winter.  It’s here.  In a big way.  We just got an inch of ice, 8 inches of snow, and my son’s school is cancelled again…for the FOURTH day in a row!  Snow-soaked coats, gloves, hats and boots have lined our entryway for the past few days as neighbor kids come in and out from the blindingly white wonderland that is our front yard.  I love times like this when there’s nowhere I need to go, nowhere I CAN go.  I am literally stuck in my house, forced to peer out at the beautiful North Pole-esque scenery and spend my days cooking and watching movies.  I can deal.

It’s moments like this when one needs soup.  Comforting.  Soul-warming.  Even nostalgic.  And this velvety-smooth potato soup is just that.  Plus it’s really easy and there are only 7 ingredients in the recipe, and that includes water and salt.  The short ingredient list allows the simple flavors to shine:  potatoes, leeks, and garlic.   The buttermilk adds rich silkiness and just a bit of tang.  Spice it up with homemade seasoned croutons and chive oil and call it a day.  Game over.   {christmas} Lights out.

   

leeks potatoes garlic

bread_croutons_PLS

Halve and slice the leeks, then wash them–this gets out the dirt in between the layers.

leeks

Mashing the garlic into a paste intensifies the flavor; adding salt helps release the juices.

garlic paste

So smooth you can see reflections.

potato leek soup

Chive oil.  Chives + Oil.  Too easy.

chive oil

Cube, season, bake.  Voila!

croutons_potato leek soup

All together.

potato leek soup croutons and chive oil_2

Potato Leek Buttermilk Soup with Smokey-spiced Croutons and Chive Oil

~Potato Leek Buttermilk Soup:

3 tablespoons butter
3 large leeks, white and light green parts halved and sliced (save the dark green parts for making vegetable stock)
3 cloves garlic, chopped and mashed into a paste with a pinch of salt
1 1/2 lbs russet potatoes (about 6 -7 medium potatoes), peeled and diced
5 cups water
1/2 cup buttermilk
salt to taste

Melt the butter over medium heat in a large dutch oven or pot.  Add leeks and cook for 15 minutes then season with a pinch of salt.  Stir in the garlic paste and cook for 1 minute then add the potatoes and season with another large pinch or two of salt; stir to combine.  Add the water and bring to a boil then reduce to low and cook for 20 minutes, until potatoes are fully cooked.  Use a stick blender and blend until smooth, or transfer to a blender, puree soup and pour back into the pot.  Stir in the buttermilk and add salt to taste.

~Smokey-spiced Croutons:

1/2 lb. sourdough or french bread
olive oil
smoked sweet paprika
smoked salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cut bread into 1/2-inch cubes and place in a large bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil (about 4 tablespoons), paprika, and smoked salt.  Use your hands to toss to combine.  Taste and add additional seasoning if needed.  Spread out onto a large jelly roll pan or cookie sheet and toast for 10 – 15 minutes, until crisp and golden brown.

~Chive Oil:

2 bunches chives
2/3 cup olive oil or sunflower oil
pinch of salt

Fill a large bowl with ice water, set aside.  Blanch chives in boiling water for 30 seconds then remove and immediately plunge into the water bath.  Drain and dry on several layers of paper towels.  Place the chives in a blender or food processor, add the oil and salt, and blend for a couple minutes.

Enjoy!

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