dinner

potato leek soup by Nate Everett

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Potato leek soup, or vichyssoise in French, is traditionally served cold, but serving it hot makes it an essential dish for your cold weather arsenal. As temperatures drop, our cravings rise for hearty food. Creamy, earthy potato leek soup is one of my favorite first courses to serve at a wintertime supper because it tastes amazing and it's ridiculously quick and easy to prepare. You can also enjoy a hot bowl of this soup as a standalone dish for a light dinner; just be sure to have toasted chive garlic bread on the side to fill up that tummy. 

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A note, leeks usually contain a bit of residual soil. Be sure to wash them thoroughly in a colander after you have chopped/prepared them to rinse out that grit. Also, when you're ready to puree the soup in Step 4, I recommend filling your blender to no more than the halfway mark; this is to avoid having piping hot soup splash over the sides when you turn on the machine. I've never done that :) 

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recipe

  • 4 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes
  • 3 leeks, trimmed, and sliced lengthwise & roughly chopped
  • 1 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream*
  • 4 cups good vegetable stock or broth**
  1. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or a heavy-bottom saucepan. Once it has melted, add the onions and sauté on medium-high heat until translucent, about five minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Do not allow the ingredients to brown.
  2. Add the potatoes, leeks, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper to the pot. Pour in the vegetable stock and stir the mixture several times to combine. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium or medium-low so the mixture bubbles gently. Cook for 30 minutes. 
  3. After the 30-minute mark, remove the soup from heat and puree until smooth using a blender or vegetable mill or other method of choice. Return the soup to the Dutch oven, stir in the cream, and season to taste. Garnish with chives and a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche and serve. 

If you make this recipe, hashtag a pic to #spiceandhutch and post to Instagram, Facebook and/or Twitter. I'd love to see your culinary creations!

*You may substitute sour cream for heavy cream.

**You may also use chicken stock or chicken broth. If you're making vichyssoise in the winter, use stock to produce a heartier soup, and broth in a summer for a lighter soup. 

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creamy pea gazpacho by Nate Everett

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It's rare that I cook a 100% vegetarian, gluten- and dairy-free dish. But after my recent marathon of sugary baked goods, it's high time for a little something healthy. And green. So green! 

I wanted to make a light and refreshing dish to eat on a hot summer day and gazpacho immediately came to mind. Creamy pea gazpacho, to be exact. The creaminess lends itself to a whole avocado rather than heavy cream or milk, and boiling the peas in vegetable stock and incorporating a generous portion of mint produces a boldly-flavored gazpacho. 

Summer gazpacho screams freshness, but for the sake of saving a bit of time and money, it's perfectly fine to use frozen peas (which I did). You're welcome to use fresh peas and I encourage you to do so if you've got the time to shuck 'em. If you opt for fresh peas, then I suggest buying about 5-6 pounds at your local farmers market or supermarket. That should be sufficient. Enjoy!

recipe

  • 5 cups frozen peas (or fresh - see note above)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 gloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 cups fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • 1 ripe medium-sized avocado, diced
  • 1 cup parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a Dutch oven, sauté the onion and shallot for several minutes over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until they become translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute longer. 
  2. Pour the vegetable stock into the Dutch oven. Add the thyme and salt and pepper, and bring to a steady boil over medium-high heat.
  3. Once the stock starts boiling, add the peas and return to a boil, and cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. If using fresh peas, cook for two minutes only.
  4. Ladle half of the pea-stock mixture into a blender and add half of the mint, avocado, and parsley. I suggest working with a half-full blender to avoid having hot liquid splash over the sides when you turn on the machine. Blend for three minutes until the mixture is uniformly smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed (you don't want any lumps!) Pour the mixture into a large bowl.
  5. Blend the second half of the pea-stock mixture with the mint, avocado and parsley as directed in step #4, and then add it to the large bowl with the first batch of gazpacho. Stir to combine.
  6. Allow the gazpacho to cool to room temperature. Taste the gazpacho and add a bit more of the salt and pepper, if you wish. Then cover the bowl in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Serve cold and garnish with a green garnish of your choice, like peas or microgreens or parsley.

If you make this recipe, hashtag a pic to #spiceandhutch and post to Instagram, Facebook and/or Twitter. I'd love to see your culinary creations!

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