Scandinavians may be some of the happiest people in the world, but boy am I glad to be African. Because the cold and I are simply not pals. I loathe but absolutely loathe winter with a passion I normally reserve for minibus taxi drivers and dentists.
About the only things that get me through it are warming traditional bredies and beefy casseroles. That along with sweet treats like ‘souskluitjies’ and ‘melkkos’. And then there is soup. I’ll happily devour it every day all winter long. A reader recently wrote to ask for my leek and potato soup recipe. Here it is. Velvety smooth and extra moreish thanks to loads of crunchy toppings.
All you need is…
1 tbs olive oil
1½ tbs butter
4 large leeks, white parts only
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
5 large potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
1 fresh bay leaf
2 x 25g sachets Ina Paarman concentrated liquid chicken stock
4 cups boiling water
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp salt
½ cup fresh cream
leek and potato soup topping options
Slice the leeks in half and wash them very thoroughly under running water to remove any grit. Slice leeks fine and fry along with the garlic over low heat in the olive oil and butter until soft. Take care not to brown them. Add the potatoes, bay, chicken stock, water, pepper and salt. Cover and cook over medium heat until the potatoes are soft. Use a stick blender to puree the soup. Return to the heat, add the cream and heat through. (Note: the salt content in this recipe was adapted for the Ina Paarman liquid stock sachets I used. If you use a different brand, taste before you add any additional salt.)
Loads of crunchy toppings elevate this leek and potato soup from everyday family fare to something fit for entertaining. For the toppings, slice the bacon and fry until crisp. Fry the rosemary leaves in the bacon fat until crisp. Dust some leek rings with cake flour and fry them in about 3cm oil until just crisp. If you want to garnish with kale chips as well, drop bits of kale leaf into the hot oil you fried the leek rings in. They take only 2-3 seconds to go crispy, so be careful not to burn the kale or it will become bitter. Also take great care when you drop the kale into the oil because it splatters like crazy!