Leek and potato soup, also known as brotchán foltchep (from the Irish words meaning “broth” and “leeks”), is one of Ireland’s most popular soups. Once thickened with oatmeal, today’s leek broth is thickened with potatoes and then buttermilk or half-and-half is added for smoothness. Try it with brown soda bread or fried parsley-oatmeal biscuits (recipe follows).
LEEK AND POTATO SOUP
SERVES 4 to 6
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large leeks (white and light green parts only), sliced
6 medium boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
6 cups homemade chicken stock or cannedlow-salt chicken broth
1 1/4 cups half and half
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
Chopped fresh chives, for garnish
1. In large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion, leeks, and potatoes. Stir to coat and then cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until soft but not browned. Stir in thyme.
2. Add stock or broth, bring to boil, then reduce heat to low; cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
3. Working in batches, transfer mixture to food processor or blender and purée until smooth. (May be prepared to this point 1 day ahead). Return purée to saucepan over medium heat, whisk in half and half, and season with salt and pepper. Add some of the parsley and simmer until heated through.
4. To serve, ladle the soup into shallow bowls and sprinkle with remaining parsley and chives. Serve with the biscuits.
FRIED PARSLEY-OATMEAL BISCUITS
Makes 20 biscuits
2 tablespoons canola oil
Handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, stems removed
8 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup Irish oatmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In small skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Fry parsley for 1 to 2 minutes or until crisp. With slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Crumble and reserve.
3. In large bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium until smooth.
4. In another large bowl, whisk together flour, oatmeal, baking powder, and salt. Stir dry ingredients into butter mixture and then stir in egg yolks, lemon pepper, and fried parsley. Gently knead mixture and form into disk.
5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a 1/2-inch-thick square. Cut dough into 1-inch-wide strips and then cut strips into twenty 2-inch-long biscuits. Transfer to prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes; turn each biscuit over and bake for 3 to 4 minutes longer, or until lightly browned. 6. Remove from oven and let the biscuits cool in the pan on a wire rack. (Can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days).