Bring on the leeks! It isn't everyday that most people cook with leeks. Such a shame. Leeks are quite tasty, even if they are bit odd looking, with their floppy green stalks that resemble a cross between a corn stalk and a flapping sea monster. Or maybe a gigantic green onion. Even so, there is good flavor in there. They're actually rather mild, similar to an onion but much tamer. Where a green onion will give you a bit of a bite, leeks are not very assertive and pair very nicely with potatoes and bell peppers. Of course we had to add a couple jalapenos and some Cajun seasonings to up the "zest" factor. Hey, we like it bold! But you'll still get plenty of that leek flavor, though it is slightly pepper forward.
Though this recipe is vegetarian, you can easily add in meats like seared and chopped chicken, maybe some Mexican chorizo or even chopped Italian sausage. I purchased some gator sausage recently and might try this soup with it. I think it would be a nice addition. If you do prefer more leek flavor, dial back on the peppers.
This is one of those soup recipes that is all about the toppings. We're obviously making it look nice, that the true goal is to include just enough of the toppings to compliment each bite of the soup. I added a bit of milk to some crema and swirled a bit over the top. Sour cream works too. I toasted some pistachios and pine nuts for a bit of crunchy crumble, and finished with a few leaves of fried sage. Fried sage is awesome! Talk about a nice pop of flavor. You can easily skip the toppings and just enjoy the soup, of course! It's quite delicious on its own and would be right at home in a party situation or as a simple meal starter.
Patty's Perspective: This was a bit on the spicy side for me because of the Cajun blend Mike used. He made a spicy homemade version. The crema on top had that nice cooling effect. The fried sage was a PHENOMENAL addition to the flavor profile. I tried to get a bit of that in every bite. This is TOTALLY a "Madness Style" recipe.
Zesty Leek and Potato Soup
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large leeks (white and pale green only, trimmed), sliced and chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
- 2 large russet potatoes, about 1.5 pounds, peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon Cajun blend seasonings
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Toasted nuts for serving – I used lightly toasted pistachios and pine nuts
- Sour cream or crema for serving, if desired
- Fried sage for serving, if desired
- Heat a large pot to medium and heat and add olive oil.
- Add leeks, celery and peppers. Cook about 8 minutes, until it all begins to soften.
- Add potatoes and stir. Cook another 5 minutes or so, until the potatoes just begin to soften.
- Add garlic and stir. Cook another minute.
- Add broth, Cajun seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir. Bring to a quick boil, then reduce heat and simmer about 20-30 minutes.
- Use a stick blender to puree the soup, or transfer it in batches to a blender or food processor and process until nice and smooth.
- Serve into bowls and top with toasted nuts, a bit of sour cream or crema, and fried sage leaves if you are using them. So good!