Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Version of a 30 Minute Meal

Oregon isn’t very good at segues. One day we’re enjoying mild, sunny days, and the next the temperature has dropped about 20 degrees and rain is blowing sideways thanks to the 40 mph gusts.

Definitely a day for soup.

This is one of those meals I kind of throw together when the thought of spending a couple of hours in the kitchen is so much less appealing than grabbing a blanket and hunkering down on the couch with a glass of wine. I don’t really measure anything, so this is an approximation of the recipe. Like live theater, each time is a new experience with variations and nuances that weren’t there the last time.

Soup’s on…

Bacon, Potato and Leek Bisque

5 slices bacon, cut into ½” pieces
2 leeks
2 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed
1 ½ Tbs butter
1 tsp fresh tarragon or ½ tsp dried
2 large russet potatoes
1/4 cup white wine
1 carton chicken stock (low sodium)
Salt and pepper to taste
Half and half or milk to taste (about ¼ - ½ cup)

In a medium soup pot, sauté the bacon on medium heat until it begins to brown. Meanwhile, cut off the tender portion of the leeks, cut lengthwise and wash thoroughly. Cut into small slices (about ¼”) and add to bacon along with the crushed garlic. Add butter and stir thoroughly. Add tarragon and stir frequently until leeks are soft. Meanwhile, peel and dice the potatoes. The smaller the dice, the quicker they’ll cook. I’m more of an instant gratification kinda gal, so I cut mine pretty small (about a ½” dice). Add potatoes to pot and stir. Deglaze pan with wine, add the chicken stock and season to taste. When the mixture begins to boil, reduce heat so that it simmers.

About this time is when I open a bottle of vino...

If you’ve cut your potatoes small, they should be tender in about 10 minutes. Check the level of ‘doneness’ by mashing a couple of the potatoes against the side of the pot.

When the potatoes are done, transfer half of the soup to a blender (**This is fair warning. If you have a standard size blender and try to transfer the entire pot of soup and then turn it on, you are risking 3rd degree burns. What kind of instant gratification would it be if you’re sitting in the emergency room with your half blended soup all over your kitchen counter getting colder by the minute?  Consider yourself warned.  And use a towel or oven mitts as extra precaution.  I'm just looking out for ya.**). Using the pulse setting, blend until of desired consistency. Return soup to pot.

Add half and half or milk to the soup and blend thoroughly. Serve immediately.

*We like to drizzle a bit of white truffle oil on ours and garnish with some fresh parsley.

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