Saturday, May 17, 2008

Cook Like Julia Childs for $4.22; Making JC's Potato & Leek Soup

Because I just finished the book Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously which chronicles blogger/home cook Julie Powell's attempt to cook every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking (AND because my sad kitchen only has cereal but no milk, peanut butter but no bread and a handful of potatoes), I decided to make Julia Child's potato and leek soup, or, as she calls it "Potage Parmentier", which makes it sound tres more sophisticated.

It's the first recipe that Julie attempts to cook in the book and hers turned out wonderfully--and the recipe only calls for 5 ingredients and 3 steps--so I figure it'd be an easy first recipe for a soup-making novice such as myself. Author Julie only writes about the general method in her book so I followed for exact measurements of ingredients (I cut down on the butter and salt by a third since JC is known to be a heavy-handed with the butter and it was fine.)

1) Wash and cut leeks and potatoes and throw in a pot with water and salt for 45 mins (no stirring even needed!)

You're supposed to use russet potatoes but I had my random colorful spuds from Trader Joe's laying around, and I'm kinda interested to see if my soup will have an indigo-ish hue from my purple potatoes.

2) Mash potatoes with a food mill (whatever that is), or a fork (what I did, which leaves courser bits of potato pieces that the food mill but I think the lumps gave the soup some character)

3) Stir in butter and serve

Although it's not the prettiest looking soup (and would probably be a more appetizing creamy color if I used normal potatoes), it's almost inconceivably tasty and hearty considering it's just water, salt, potatoes, leeks and a tab of butter! And what other dish could you make with just those ingredients? Two helpings later, I'm still quite impressed with myself.

I had to get buy two stalks of leeks ($2.23), my existing potatoes cost me $1.99 and I had salt, butter and water on hand so my 8 servings of soup cost me a total of $4.22. Enough for a couple of bowls plus leftovers!

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