Potato and leek soup is way more delicious than it deserves to be. Even at its most basic, the simple combination of leeks, potatoes, salt, and water, is amazingly delicious. But that being said, there's no reason not to experiment with the basic recipe, particularly when it uses up even more of my CSA vegetables.
I tend to go for a mixture of chunky and smooth in my potato-leek soup, but with cabbage playing an important role, the immersion blender stayed in the drawer. The leeks melt into the broth and the potatoes just begin to fall apart, blending with tangles of tender cabbage in each bite. Salt and pepper would be enough to season this dynamic combination, but the hint of herbaceous thyme and savory Parmesan really bring it all together. Thyme can be a polarizing ingredient, so use a light hand and swap it out for another herb if it's not to your liking. Hearty greens like spinach, kale, or chard, could be substituted for the cabbage, if necessary, but should be added at the end of the cooking process.
There have been a few schizophrenic weather turns, but these darker days and cool temperatures leave no doubt than winter's on its way. Even if I miss most of the daylight hours at work and have to bundle up each time I step outside, hearty bowls like this one are one the best reasons to embrace the season. Soup's on!
Cabbage, Potato and Leek Soup
adapted from the New York Times
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 medium leeks, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
8 cups shredded cabbage
8 cups shredded cabbage
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 medium russet, Yukon Gold, or red potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock or water
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Grated Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano, to serve (optional)
1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat, add the leeks and cook until soft and golden around the edges, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the cabbage and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage begins to caramelize, about 10 minutes.
2. Stir in potatoes, stock, 4 cups water, salt and thyme. Bring soup to a simmer and cook, partly covered, until potatoes begin to fall apart, 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes. Add more water, as needed, to reach the desired consistency. Season with additional salt and black pepper and serve, topped with cheese.