I am posting a couple of extra recipes tonight since I had a request for them. One is for a Potato-Leek Soup that I make, and the other is an early St. Patrick’s Day recipe for Irish Soda Bread. First, the Potato-Leek Soup:
Potato and Leek Soup
2 tablespoons butter or extra virgin olive oil
3 medium potatoes, any type, peeled and cut into small cubes
3 leeks, white and light green parts only, washed and sliced into thin rings
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, or water
1/2 to 1 cup heavy cream, sour cream or yogurt
Put the butter or oil in a large, deep pot over medium heat. When the butter melts or the oil is hot, add the vegetables. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until starting to soften, 2 or 3 minutes. Add the stock, adjust the heat so it gently bubbles, and cook until the vegetables are very tender, about 20 minutes. Allow the soup to cool slightly and then carefully puree the soup in a blender or food processor or with an immersion blender. Return the soup to the pot you cooked in. Stir in the cream, sour cream or yogurt and re-heat gently; do not let it boil if you use yogurt. Add more salt and pepper as needed and serve.
If you prefer not to deal with the leeks and the cleaning they need, you can substitute a large sliced onion instead. If you want the soup even thicker, you can always add in more potato to thicken it. If you want to make this a Vichyssoise, don’t re-heat the soup. Instead, chill the soup thoroughly before serving. You can also garnish the soup with some minced chives or some crumbled bacon (Sean’s preference, of course). This is a great one pot dinner and even better the next day for lunch or dinner.
Now, for the Irish Soda Bread. I am no bread expert, but I can make this one. A lot of what you can get in the stores I find to be too dry. I know people who can make this better than I do, but this is still a good recipe.
Irish Soda Bread
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for the counter
1 cup cake flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup raisins
Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray generously with vegetable oil spray.
Whisk the flours, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt together in a large bowl. Work 2 tablespoons of the butter into the dry ingredients with a fork until the texture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the buttermilk and raisins with a fork just until the dough begins to come together. Turn out onto a lightly floured counter. Knead just until the dough becomes cohesive and bumpy, about 30 seconds (Do not knead until smooth).
Pat the dough into a 6-inch round about 2 inches thick. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Cut an X into the top of the loaf using a serrated knife. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 40 to 45 minutes.
Remove the loaf from the oven and transfer to a wire rack. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and brush it over the top of the bread. Let the loaf cool for 1 hour.
This bread is great not only to go along with your St. Patrick’s Day meal, but also as an accompaniment to soups, like the potato leek soup above, or any stew. It also makes great toast the next day.
I think that’s the end of my posting for today. If you have any questions or comments, or there is a recipe you would like to see or are looking for, just leave a comment, send me an email at IguanaFlats@msn.com, visit my Facebook page, or send me a note on Twitter @IguanaFlats. You can get the links to my Facebook or Twitter pages on the right. I hope you all have a great evening!