Soupe De Poireaux Et Pommes De Terre

True Story: Part One

"Your family has strange luck." -CM

When Katie told me her friend Catherine said this about us I understood it immediately. If you have ever had strange luck in your life you understand it too.

Let me explain...

Good luck is when you win the lottery and you have money in the bank.

Strange luck is when the transmission is going out on your car, you are about to spend your last twenty on groceries, payday isn't until next week and you win the lottery but only three thousand dollars... enough to pay for the transmission repairs and groceries. That's strange luck.

"Are you sure you want to do this?" Our favorite realtor asked us.


"Tomorrow is Friday the Thirteenth."

"Sure. What can it hurt?" Rich said.

Which was a little shocking to me. Rich played baseball for a long time. Not in the pros or anything like that but enough baseball to be superstitious. And I know realtors and their clients can be superstitious too. Some people won't buy houses with the numbers 666 in them. When President Ronald Reagan purchased a house in Bel Air, CA, its address was 666 St. Cloud Road. Johnny Carson, the previous owner, had no problem with the number. The Reagan's asked that the number be changed. The town complied. The new address is 668. Our new address would have the number 44 in it. Forty four is a strong number. The number four stand for paying attention to detail and building a solid foundation for the future. A double 4 supposedly strengthens that effect. Obama is the 44th president, 44 years after segregation was outlawed. At Syracuse University the number 44 is retired for all sports. Twenty five players there have worn that number including Ernie Davis and Jim Brown. And then there's baseball... which thrills my husband to no end.

Willie McCovey (one of the three Will's or Willie's to player for the S.F. Giants. Will, our son, one of his many nicknames is Willie Mac after Willie McCovey)

Hank Aaron (hit homerun #715 two days before I was born)

Reggie Jackson (When I was a kid my mom drove a school bus. She always used to say "she drove 44, Reggie Jackson's number.")

A hitter's number. A good number according to my husband. A number maybe everyone is reading a little too much into... until I finished reading the papers we were signing, My birthday popped up as the day the sellers bank would give us a final answer.

Fate? Who knows but I can tell you the story gets a little more strange on St. Patrick's Day.

To be continued...

I think whomever came up with this soup had some strange luck too. Take two dirty and dirt poor vegetables, cook them up, and eat like king.

Soupe De Poireaux Et Pommes De Terre or Potato Leek Soup: Bouchon by Thomas Keller

Serves 6 to 8

2 pounds (about 3 large) leeks
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
heaping 1/2 cup sliced (about 1/4 inch thick) shallots
1/3 cup sliced (1/4 inch thick) onions
salt and pepper
1/2 pound (about 1 large) russet potato, peeled
1 tablespoon minced garlic
sachet (recipe below)
5 1/2 to 6 1/2 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup of warmed heavy cream
1/2 cup minced chives
extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground pepper

Sachet or Bouquet Garni:

2 or 3 pieces dark green outer leek leaves (6 to 7 inches long)
8 thyme sprigs
2 Italian parsley sprigs
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

To make sachet or bouquet garni: Lay out 1 leek green. Place herbs and peppercorns on top and wrap remaining leaf or leaves to form a circular bundle; tie securely with kitchen twine in at least three spots.

Or: Wrap ingredients in a 7-inch square of cheesecloth and tie into a bundle with kitchen twine.

Cut away and discard the dark green leaves and roots from the leeks, leaving only the white and palest green sections. Cut them lengthwise in half and rinse under cold water to remove any dirt between layers. Place the leeks cut side down on a cutting board and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices. (You should have three cups.)

Melt the butter in a large sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add the leeks, shallots, and onions, and season generously with salt and pepper. Increase the heat to medium and sweat the vegetables, stirring often, for 3 to five minutes- the vegetables should wilt but not brown.

Meanwhile, cut the potatoes lengthwise into quarters, then cut crosswise into 1/4 inch slices. (You should have about 1 1/4 cups.)

Add garlic to the sauteing vegetables and cook for another minute, then add the sachet and potatoes and cook for 2 to 4 minutes longer.

Add 5 1/2 cups chicken stock and adjust seasonings. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Remove from the heat and let soup cool for about 15 minutes.

Remove the sachet. If you will be refrigerating the soup, prepare ice bath.

Transfer the soup, in batches, to a blender and puree, starting at low speed (to release the heat remaining in the soup), then slowly increasing the speed until the soup is smooth. Be careful not to overfill the blender, as hot liquid can spurt out from the top. For a more refined texture, strain the soup through a fine-meshed strainer.

To Complete: Return the soup to the rinsed out pan and bring to a simmer. Add the cream and simmer for 5 minuter. Remove from heat. If you are serving the soup hot, stir in the chives, reserving about 1 teaspoon per serving for garnish. If you are refrigerating the soup, pour into a container and place in the ice bath to cool. Reserve about 1 teaspoon of chives per bowl to garnish the soup and stir in remaining chives. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

To Serve: Sprinkle the soup with reserved chives, drizzle lightly with olive oil, and top each bowl with a grind of black pepper.

Tasting Notes: A Thomas Keller Recipe that doesn't require every dish in the house and tastes like heaven. That's called a win-win situation.


SaintTigerlily said...

Yes, but it did require an ice bath.

*rolls eyes*

That Keller...always sneaking something posh and finicky.

Strangely (luckily) I was looking at this very recipe this weekend and thinking about making it...coincidence?? I think not.

krysta said...

yeah, but only if you wanted to eat it chilled... i didn't give it an ice bath.

tamilyn said...

I'm not a big soup fan, but that sounds really good.

MichelleB said...

Ack! I want to hear more of the story. And yes, the soup looks great.

SaintTigerlily said...

Ah I see. Looks gorgeous - ice bath or otherwise. :)

Phoo-D said...

This soup looks comforting and delicious. Your tasting note made me laugh! I hope that everything worked out okay with your new house.

Humble Abode said...

i'm a sucker for a good leek and tater soup. the more cream and butter the better.

Melissa said...

I agree on the tasting notes. Will save this one since I wanted to make potato leek soup anyway. Really.

And the house? It's a 'comin.

Stacey Snacks said...

I got married on the 13th, and so far, so good (19 years).
and my dad worked at 666 Fifth Ave in NYC for 36 years.
and to be even freakier.......my social security number ends in 666!.
ok, maybe I am possessed, but so far, so good!

but I haven't won the lottery YET, and I do play it!


The Cutting Edge of Ordinary said...

Hey at least you have luck, even if it's strange. No luck...that would suck.

Kristin @ Going Country said...

Ooo, a cliffhanger . . .

I used to make a similar soup every spring with wild leeks, called ramps. It was a tradition for my husband and I to forage for ramps when we lived in the city (but we had to drive OUTSIDE the city to find them, duh). Now that we live here and grow so much damn food of our own, the tradition has fallen by the wayside. Kind of sad.

Anonymous said...

I took 22 hours of French in college and STILL didn't know it was potato soup until I read the recipe. (Yes, I'm ashamed.)

I love, love, love potato soup. My mother made it for supper at least once a week growing up. Talk about a budget stretcher.

I will definitely make this version.

And for the record: no ice bath for me. I'm way too lazy for that, and I expect my potato soup hot.

Anonymous said...

Two of my favorite produce items... leeks and spuds!

Krysta, it's the prettiest soup ever!

Eva said...

that looks tasty. strange luck is better than bad luck. good luck with your house!

auntjone said...

Ack! No fair posting a cliff-hanger. Perhaps you should change your blog to "evil bitch'? HA!

I'm the world's worst soup maker but I might tackle this one. And I've never used leeks before so it would be a double challenge for me.

Anonymous said...

Oh but I want to use every dish in the house and I want it to take 4 days to make...please, please.

Dang it sounds good though.

Spryte said...

I don't usually like creamy soups... that all those leeks look so good!!

michael, claudia and sierra said...

too rich for my blood...

but i love that you cook keller. it endears me to you...

Anonymous said...