Leek season has just begun and I happen to have leeks in my yard that have been in the ground since last year, that are finally ready to be pulled. This year has been much cooler, especially overnight, and crops like leeks have taken a bit longer to flourish. Now that they are ready to enjoy I thought a hardy soup should be on the menu because believe it or not, it’s still pretty chilly outside. Potato soup is a popular family meal and I learned to make it from my Poppy’s (grandfathers) recipe, demonstrated by my mother through the years. I have changed it a bit by lightening up the choice of milk and adding other ingredients like leeks to the soup. I think these small changes are excellent for springtime, when leeks are readily available and we are all looking to lighten up our food for shorts-weather ahead.
I have tried all kinds of techniques to create potato soup, and what I find works best is to cook the potatoes slowly in the milk and leek mixture, and not par-boil them ahead, just like my Poppy. That way you end up with a chunky soup that you can either leave that way, as I prefer, or puree it until smooth. The prosciutto crumbles are easily made in the same pot, prior to starting the soup and set to the side to top the soup, after ladled into bowls. The crispy pork adds the perfect amount of subtle saltiness, not to mention some outstanding texture that you get with each spoonful.
This recipe is great on the weekends because you most likely will have leftovers to enjoy during the week for lunch. I also think it’s a nice way to introduce spring into your meal repertoire without going cold-turkey for spring or summertime salads. It’s just not warm enough yet.
4 slices prosciutto, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
4 large leeks, cleaned and sliced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 pounds new potatoes, peeled and sliced
4 cups low-fat milk
1/2 cup half & half
salt & pepper
- In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, add chopped prosciutto. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, or until dark and crispy. Using a slotted spoon remove prosciutto, and set on a paper towel lined plate. Leaving remaining fat in pot.
- In the same pot, add butter and leeks. Sauté for 5 minutes or until slightly softened. Add flour and stir. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add potatoes, milk and half & half, stir. Add 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, stir.
- Turn heat to low and place lid on pot with lid slightly ajar. Cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Ladle into bowls and top with crispy prosciutto. Enjoy!