Thursday, September 22, 2011

Progress, and leek, sausage, potato soup

My writing workshop recently tackled a short story I wrote, and the professor said, "You know, I think you have a book here." I don't know if that's the case, but can you imagine? What an encouragement. I've been in a good mood since that class, and have been trundling along this week, trying to figure out how the book would be structured, how many chapters it would have, go about such a daunting project. 

But when I sat down to write tonight, it wasn't the normal face-the-blank-page drudge, and my spirits and energy level didn't plummet like they sometimes do when it's nearing the end of the week. It could have been the encouraging word from my professor; it could also have been the humongous bowl of hearty, delicious, rich soup I had before getting down to business. 

I made this soup over the weekend to trade with my food-exchange friend (she made potato cheddar soup, so we were on the same page) and I squirreled away some for myself, too. The leeks are creamy and flavorful and the kielbasa gives the broth a smoky spiciness. It's a quick soup to make, and even quicker to heat up -- a fortifying coda to the workday before starting a project you hope will turn out. 

Potato Leek Soup with Kielbasa
Adapted from Cook's The New Best Recipe

5 big leeks, tough, dark green portion removed and the rest rinsed well and sliced thin
6 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon four
5 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 pound small red potatoes -- I used fingerling potatoes and cut them in half, but you could also use larger ones and cut them smaller
1 pound kielbasa -- I used smoked, and it gave the broth a fuller flavor

1. Heat the butter in a large pot over medium heat until it foams, add the leeks, turn down the heat, cover and let cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Stir now and then, and don't let them brown.

2. Add the flour to the leeks and stir for about 2 minutes until the flour dissolves into the butter.

3. Turn up the heat to high and while stirring, add the broth gradually, along with the bay leaf, sausage and potatoes. Cook until you can easily pierce the potatoes with a fork, about 5 minutes. (Also, if you'd like the make this soup now but eat it later, cook the potatoes separately, and add them to the soup when you serve it. That way they won't get mealy and weird on you.)

4. Remove the pot from the heat and season with salt and pepper.

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