I discovered a new potato in the Olsen Farms stand at the farmer’s market a couple Sundays ago called “Kerr’s Pink”. Turns out it’s the second largest potato crop of Ireland. If anybody knows potatoes it’s the Irish! This potato has a slightly pink hued skin and a lively fluffy mouth feel and a sweet taste. Super delicious! So, that brings me to herbs de Provence. It’s time to check your spices and put together your herbs de Provence spice mix for the winter. At the end of the recipe is my personal mix, but you can come up with your own proportions and ingredients. All the herbs in the mix are easily grown here, except the basil. Now is the time to harvest those English lavender flowers, which are perfectly dry on the stalk.
I have a little twist on the classic Potato Leek Soup. This chunky version works beautifully with the Kerr’s Pink, but you can substitute Yukon Gold. The trick to a really good potato leek soup is lots of leeks. Also, if you have a mandolin, use it to slice the potatoes to 1/8″ thick rounds. Otherwise, take your time to keep them a consistent slice. You want the potatoes to cook at the same rate. You can make this recipe vegan by substituting olive oil for the butter.
4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 large leeks, roots sliced off, halved lengthwise, washed then thinly sliced
3 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence
4 to 6 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
In a large saucepan, heat the oil and butter over medium high heat until the butter foams. Add the leeks with a pinch of salt and stir to coat. Cover and reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 10 minutes.
Uncover the pan and stir in the potatoes, cloves, nutmeg and herbs de Provence. Cook, stirring occasionally until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. If the leeks start to stick to the bottom, lower the heat and stir a little more often. When the potatoes are soft, mash them into course chunks with a potato masher. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Taste for seasoning with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley. Reduce heat to the lowest setting and simmer for another 5 minutes to let the flavors blend.
Serve with a nice piece of bread or a dollop of blue cheese. Yum!
The amount of stock you add is determined by how watery you like your soup. 4 cups gives a pretty thick soup, which is the way I like it.
Herbs de Provence
2 tablespoons oregano leaves
2 tablespoons thyme leaves
1 tablespoons basil leaves
1 tablespoons savory
1 tablespoon marjoram
2 teaspoons lavender flowers
1 teaspoon rosemary
Mix well and store in an airtight jar. Keeps for 6 months.