I have a confession to make. I never have all the ingredients for a recipe. Ever.
Life with a 9 month old means you can’t always run to the store for thinks like… leeks. Who just HAS leeks kicking around the fridge? Not I
(ssshhh, don’t tell the Food Network, I’m pretty sure I’ll never get my own show if they know I never buy leeks. I bet Ina Garten always has leeks in the fridge. Are you wishing I’d stop saying leeks already?)
Moral of the story, I usually end up substituting the living daylights out of recipes, to use what I have on hand. Which is exactly why I need more recipes like this one from smitten kitchen . It’s the kind of recipe that uses things you already have in the house. And if you don’t have it… you can probably use something similar and it will still be delicious. WIN.
For example, I swapped out the leeks for a sweet onion I had in the fridge, and used less chicken broth (mainly because I only had 4 cups, but you could totally add more at the end if you like a thinner soup). I also simplified the use of garlic, because the original recipe had you (deep breath) pop the entire head of garlic in the broth and simmer it until tender, then pop out the cloves and mash them with a fork… way too many steps for someone who is JUST STARTING DINNER AT 9:00 AT NIGHT. I just minced up a TON of garlic and sautéed it with the onions. Simple, no?
So, step one: pour a glass of wine. This might be the most important step.
Then cut up a bunch of veggies while drinking said wine. See? Potatoes, onion, and garlic. Totally things I usually have in the fridge.
If you’re wicked classy like me, you’ll forget to cut up an entire potato and chuck it into the soup accidentally. Then get your finger in the picture while documenting how much of a mess you are.
Bacon and soup? Yes please
Toast some crusty rolls to go with it, if you like that sort of thing.
And garnish the finished product with whatever makes you happy. I went with sour cream, chives, and bacon. That can ONLY be good. (sidenote: I *might* have added more bacon after I took this picture… don’t judge me)
RECIPE: adapted from smitten kitchen (click link to see original recipe)
1 head garlic, minced (use more or less depending on how garlicky you like your soup)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium sweet onion
4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth (the original recipe called for 5-6, so add more after pureeing depending on how thick you like your soup)
2 bay leaves
2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I used Yukon golds, which took a little longer to cook but were delicious)
1/3 cup sour cream (or whatever dairy you have on hand, to add some creaminess)
Ground black pepper
Salt (to taste)
Minced fresh chives or scallions
In a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook them until soft (but not brown), about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook another minute. Add broth, bay leaves and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat and simmer 30 to 40 minutes. Add potatoes and continue to simmer, partially covered, until potatoes are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Discard bay leaves. Add sour cream to soup and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Adjust seasonings, adding more salt and pepper to taste. Using immersion blender, process soup until chunky-creamy, or totally creamy, whatever makes you happy. I’m sure you could also use another method of pulverization if you prefer; a food processor or blender, etc.