Monday, December 15, 2008

recession = potato leek soup

During a recession, many people look critically at their grocery bill as an opportunity to cut costs. This is a good idea, as long as you don't sacrifice healthy, seasonal, high-quality products for mass produced items at a lower cost. Rather than use the economy as an excuse to stop shopping at the co-op, perhaps you should rethink exactly what you're buying, and how you're preparing it. For example, you could eat less meat, or purchase seasonal produce that typically costs less than off-season delicacies (such as strawberries in January, which you shouldn't be buying in the first place). If you live in northern climes, your choices will be limited, but the payoff is huge, both economically and emotionally.

If a bull market is steak and lobster, then a bear market is potatoes and leeks, preferably in the form of soup. With a dollop of butter or sour cream, and some good bread, this soup is a filling winter meal that costs less than a six pack.

Millions of people have survived on the potato alone. If you have access to water and some onions or leeks, a whole world of flavor awaits. This recipe appears on the first page of Julia Child's epic "Mastering The Art of French Cooking," and with good reason. The simple combination of inexpensive, seasonal vegetables embodies the frugality of peasant cooking without sacrificing flavor. More importantly, excluding salt and water, this recipe only has two ingredients. It is the easiest soup recipe I've ever made. Anyone can and should make homemade soup. No excuses.

This recipe serves 6 people.


  • 1 lb peeled potatoes, thinly sliced (any variety will do, but I like Yukon Golds)
  • 1 lb thinly sliced leeks, or sweet onions, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 TB salt
  • 3 TB butter
  • 3 TB minced parsley or chives

  1. bring water to boil in a large soup pot
  2. add salt and vegetables, bring to boil
  3. lower heat and simmer, partially, covered for 40-50 minutes
  4. turn off heat, and using a potato masher or empty beer/wine bottle, puree the vegetables in the pot by pressing them against the bottom of the pot (this is much easier than it sounds)
  5. if using butter and herbs, stir them in and serve immediately. a dollop of sour cream on top also works well.


Roger Owen Green said...

I must confess being more gourmand than gourmet, but I think my wife would love your blog.

Housekeepers said...

thanks for the comment, Roger. it's good to hear from a fellow gourmand and blogger. please spread the word - i'm trying to publish only the most simple yet delicious tips for eating ethically and well. cheers. -mark