When I was in high school/college and still living at home with my family, in upstate NY, I would make large pots of soup for us to enjoy during the winter months. We would get piles of snow several feet high this time of year and nothing satisfied on a cold winters night like a homemade bowl of soup or stew that was set to simmer on the stove all evening and filled the house with its warm aromas. I used to love to make potato leek soup this time of year and would often spend the evenings with my siblings watching Masterpiece Theater on PBS and enjoying a steaming bowl of freshly made soup. During the winter break from school my sister Jess and I would often, late in the evening on a moonlit night, bundle up and head out to the big hill across from our house to go sledding in the dark. And on the way home, wet, cold and tired from sledding we would fall into the towering snow drifts (or be pushed) that were were formed by the plow and were at least as tall as we were. These tall white towers of snow were soft enough to cradle our fall and left us laughing, out of breath and headed home for some more soup to end our late night adventures.
We haven’t had any snow yet here in Germany where I now live, just to the east of Cologne, but the cold, rainy and quickly darkening days have me yearning to make a pot of soup anyway. Thanks to Krista of the Monday Baker I made this beautiful soup yesterday and it was fabulous. It was one of the quickest soups I’ve ever made and depending on how thick you like it, it really is more of a chowder. I don’t typically like corn in soups, so it became more of a secondary ingredient rather than the main one but I really enjoyed it all the same. Since I wasn’t going to be relying solely on corn to beef up this stew I decided to add some leek which gave it very nice flavor and some added color. I also threw on top a few pieces of avocado at the last minute (it needed to be used up and I love avocado). So on this dreary rainy day it not only served as a garnish but also added a little extra splash of color to our night. Usually the pairing of potato and leek in a creamy broth only finds its way into my cooking repertoire when I make potato leek soup, which I love, but this chowder was so delicious and unique that it takes a stage of its own and will definitely be added to my list of favorites and be revisited many times in the near future I’m sure.
Potato-Leek with Corn Chowder
adapted from the Monday Baker
4 tablespoons Butter (or Olive Oil)
1 medium Onion chopped
1 large Leek cleaned and chopped into rounds (white and green parts)
3 heaping tablespoons flour
1 liter Vegetable stock
2 medium/large white Potatoes diced
1 1/2 cups corn
2-3 teaspoons dried Tarragon
salt/pepper to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream *optional
Avocado for garnish *optional
Heat the butter or oil in a large soup pot. Saute the onions and leek until the onions are translucent. Add the flour and stir to evenly combine. Continue to stir for a minute or two. Add the potatoes and then the stock. The broth should thicken as you stir it. Bring the soup back up to a simmer and then add the corn and the dried tarragon. Simmer on medium heat until the potatoes are soft, about 20-30 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the cream, if adding, and any additional seasoning. Serve garnished with avocado pieces *optional and extra tarragon sprinkled on top. Enjoy!