When I was a student in Paris, a classmate invited me to her home in the Loire Valley for the weekend. We took the train from Paris and visited the cathedral in Chartres and several castles.
February is a cold and damp time in France. I remember the pleasure of entering the kitchen in her country home and being greeted by Mama in her apron, a blazing fire and mouth-watering aromas of fresh bread and hearty soups.
Here’s my favorite recipe from that beautiful weekend in the countryside.
“Potage Parmentier” or Leek and Potato Soup
This soup is thick and rich and makes a perfect meal with bread, cheese and white wine.
- 8-10 leeks, rinsed well
- 3 Tablespoon salted butter
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 4 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 6 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Slice the leeks, including part of the green tops. Clean by chopping and allowing to sit in water so the sediment sinks to the bottom.
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks and cook until soft. Add the potatoes, chicken broth and parsley. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until potaoes are tender.
Purée the soup in a blender, one-third at a time. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Serve hot with crispy crusty French bread and hard cheeses.
Makes 6 servings.