Sometimes I want a simple meal. Something hearty and delicious, but I want it to not take a lot of brain power to make. One of my favorites in this category is soup because it really is filling and can have great flavors without being difficult. Yes, there are soups that are more complicated, but sometimes a straightforward soup is just as good.
When I was at the farmers market over the weekend I found really pretty corn and a beautiful leek. What better way to use them in the middle of winter than in a soup.
The one thing that may seem a little strange here is the corn cobs in the soup. I add them in when I’m cooking the potatoes because I think it adds to the flavor of the soup. It’s like the bay leaf – you can leave it out, but it is just better if you add it in.
- 1/2 large sweet onion, diced – about 1/2 cup
- 1 leek, white and light green parts
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 large russet/baking potato
- 4 cups vegetable broth/stock
- 2 ears corn with the cobs (or about a cup of frozen corn)
- 1-2 bay leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- oil or butter for pan
Slice the leek lengthwise then chop into small pieces. Place in a bowl and add water. Gently toss the leeks to separate then let sit about three or four minutes. (This is where I chop the onion and garlic). Remove leeks from water – do not pour out -clean out the bowl and repeat. Leeks keep a lot of dirt trapped, so I like to clean them twice.
Heat the butter or oil in a large pot and when hot add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring about three minutes (the second cleaning of the leeks for me). Season with salt and pepper. I used about 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Yes, kosher salt – more on that later. Add the clean leeks and cook, stirring occasionally until cooked down a little and soft. (About 5 minutes)
Peel and chop the potato. Once leeks and onion are cooked down, add potato, vegetable broth and bay leaf to the pot. If you have the corn cobs, remove the kernels here and add the cobs to the pot. If not, skip. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook about 25 minutes until the potatoes are done. Remove cobs and bay leaves, add the corn kernels and cook about 5 minutes more. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve hot. If I had some chives, I would have added those to the top as a pretty garnish, but it really isn’t necessary.
*So the kosher salt. I know lots of chefs and cooks who deride kosher salt because it is much saltier than regular salt or sea salt. But that is actually why I’ve moved to using it when I cook. I love my salt grinder and the light tough of salt that I can get with it, but I wasn’t getting enough salt when I used it (I have awful luck with salt grinders – it’s a little maddening). So I experimented with the kosher salt, and was careful in how much I used and found that if I use it for the initial seasoning – just at the beginning – my dishes were coming out much better and I didn’t need to add more salt as I ate, or even during more of the cooking process most of the time. So … yes, kosher salt.