Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Bit 'o Irish for Dinner

It's both good and bad that I work about 300 feet from a Borders book store--and I don't even have to go outside! Since I love reading (and coffee and music) it's nice to have one so close. But that also means I come home with a lot of books I may or may not need (right, Nate?). One thing I can't help but buy when I see a good deal is an ethnic cookbook. Lucky for me, they're usually on clearance. My collection from Borders includes Indian, Thai and Irish (plus we have Chinese, Greek, Austrian and Czech from elsewhere) cookbooks.

Irish food holds a special place in our hearts (sounds cheesy, but it's true!). We spent 10 days in Ireland in April 2008. Most of the food we had was fantastic--and we had a lot. Huge, traditional Irish breakfasts, pub grub or surprisingly good gas station sandwiches and "crisps" and all sorts of great stuff for dinner--fish and chips, Irish stew, bangers and mash, soups, etc. One of my favorite Irish foods is potato leek soup. The first time I made it was for dinner Monday night.

I combined two recipes from the Irish cookbook. Here's what I did.

Potato and Leek Soup
1/4 cup butter plus about a tablespoon
1.5 pounds potatoes
2 large onions, finely chopped
7 cups hot combination of chicken stock and broth
3 large leeks
salt, pepper
chopped, fresh chives for garnish.

Melt butter in a heavy pan and add onions, turning them in the butter until well coated. cover and leave to sweat over low heat. Heat tablespoon of butter in skillet; slice the leeks very thin and cook over melted butter for about 15 minutes. Add potatoes to large pan and mix well with butter and onions. Season with salt and pepper, cover and cook without coloring over a gentle heat for about 10 minutes. Add the stock/broth and leeks, bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Puree the soup in batches in a food processor or blender. Reheat over a lot heat and adjust seasoning. Add a little milk or stock if too thick. Sprinkle with chives.

I thought it turned out very well! It was creamy and rich, although there wasn't any actual cream in it. It made 6-7 servings.

And, of course, with the soup, we had to have soda bread! We bought this mix a while ago so I thought this was a good opportunity to try it. It turned out well, and it's great to have with the soup.

And for the heck of it, a picture from Ireland! The Cliffs of Moher:

1 comment:

  1. lisascahill@hotmail,comJanuary 30, 2010 at 10:45 AM

    I'm going to try this tonight! You know I'm the only non-Irish one in this family so I'm still learning.Your recipe sounds so delish! I have made potato soup but this looks better.And easier too. When we were in Ireland in 1971, food wasn't memorable but I think the potential is there. Thanks for your work.