In our household, soup plays a major part of our diet during the cold months of autumn, winter and spring. A big bowl of a hot and hearty soup can send away the chills while giving a sense of comfort. A good hearty soup can also be quite filling, and depending on the time of day, had as a meal along with homemade bread, or as an appetizer to something bigger. Sometimes, we’ll even have soup as a snack to send away the afternoon hunger pangs if we’ve skipped lunch but dinner is still a time away.
Potato and leek soup is often a favourite and there are many ways to make it. The other day, Kiriaki sent along this recipe and we tried it. It’s not much different than some of the other potato & leek soups we’ve made, but it does have the addition of saffron – Greek saffron, also called “krokus” in Greece. The saffron gives the soup a subtle almost floral honey flavour that is delightful with the other ingredients.
Saffron from Greece is considered the best saffron in the world by a number of gourmet chefs, although it can be hard to find in North America (we have limited quantities available here). Krokus Kozanis is PDO designated and is produced in such a way to ensure purity without adulteration – something you just don’t know for sure when purchasing other saffrons. While it is expensive based on purchase weight, a little saffron goes a long way!
Potato & leek soup is a delicious soup for cold winter days, and we’ll be eating this regularly. Kiriaki writes that this recipe makes enough for 5 servings – but here, we have issues with recipes and their “serving guidelines!” Most of the time, so-called serving portions are just too small around here, especially when you have a big strapping 16-year-old son. He will often eat the equivalent of what some would describe as “4 servings” and then some.
But no matter how large or small your serving size is, you will love this recipe if you enjoy potato and leek soup:
- 4 big potatoes, peeled off, medium cut
- 3 medium-sized leeks, sliced thinly
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, mashed or grated
- 40-50 ml olive oil
- 4-5 slices of smoked bacon sliced thinly
- 5-6 filaments or threads saffron (Krokus Kozanis)
- 800 ml chicken broth, warm
- 500 ml milk
- 1 tsp dried ground thyme
- Fresh ground pepper
Making the Potato & Leek Soup
- We pour the chicken broth into a bowl or a measuring cup and add the saffron threads. We stir and leave it aside.
- In a big pot, we warm up the olive oil in medium heat and we sauté our leeks and celery for 3-4 minutes until they’re soft.
- We add the garlic and sauté for 1 more minute until the cooked garlic aroma becomes apparent. Careful not to sauté more as it may become too bitter.
- We remove the sautéd ingredients with a slotted spoon or ladle and we place them on a platter.
- We add the bacon to the pot, turn the heat well up and fry for 2-3 minutes until it’s well done.
- We add the potatoes and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon.
- We add the chicken broth with our saffron, milk, thyme, salt and pepper, and the sauteed leeks, celery and garlic that we reserved, and stir. Once we have brought the mixture to a boil, we turn down the heat and slowly cook for 45 minutes, until potatoes are soft.
- We remove from the heat and put our soup in the blender in portions. We divide it into bowls, add some fresh ground pepper and serve right away.
This is a wonderful version of potato and leek soup and it was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone that had it. Perfect for the cold evening, as winter seems to start to take an early hold here, even though it is still autumn.