Potato leek soup
A taste of Scotland from Tara Alan's cookbook, BIKE CAMP COOK
This simple and delicious soup was the very first meal I Tara cooked on her two-year adventure. That evening also happened to be her very first foray into the world of free-camping! Their tent was pitched on a hidden, daffodil-covered hill just a short day’s ride outside of Glasgow, Scotland. She remembers hoping that no angry farmer would spot her stove’s flame and come yell at them as she nervously sautéed potatoes and leeks. Thankfully, no one ever did. Back then, she made this soup using fresh Scottish cream. Now, she has adapted it to use canned evaporated milk, to make it a bit more convenient. If you have easy access to milk or cream, though, use them!
Prep & cook time
2 generous servings
• 2 small leeks, or 1 very large one
• 2 enormous potatoes (Russets would be good here)
• 2 tablespoons butter
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon pepper
• 2 teaspoons flour
• 2 bouillon cubes
• 1½ cups water
• 1 12oz / 354ml can evaporated milk, or 24 tablespoons (1½ cups) milk, cream, or a combination of the two
First, prepare your ingredients: remove any wilting leaves from the outside of the leek. Cut off and discard the tough, dark-green tops, slicing just above the spot where the leaves start to fan out. Chop off the root end, and discard it as well. Slit the rest of the leek in half lengthwise and examine it for dirt. If you’ve got a sandy, dirt-filled specimen, fan out the layers slightly and rinse them off with a little water. Once clean, chop the leeks into ¼-inch slices and put them in your large cooking pot.
Next, clean your potatoes as best you can by wiping with a towel or rinsing, and discard any bad spots. Cut the potatoes into small chunks, and add them to the pot. Add the butter, salt, and pepper. Prepare the milk: if using regular milk or cream, measure it into a cup. If using a can of evaporated milk, open it and set it aside.
Now, you can begin cooking: prime and light your stove and sauté the vegetables over a medium flame. Stir often until the leeks are soft, as shown in the photo on page 166. Add the flour, and stir to combine. Remove the pot from the stove so your veggies won’t burn, and add the water and bouillon cubes.
Put the pot back on the heat, and allow everything to boil until the potatoes are very tender. When they yield easily to gentle pressure with the back of a spoon, gently smash some of them against the side of the pot. (The smashed potatoes will help thicken the soup.) While you’re poking around, make sure the bouillon cubes are completely dissolved.
When the soup has thickened up a bit, and enough potato chunks are smashed to your liking, stir in the milk or cream and simmer for another minute or two before eating.