Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Farmers Market: Leek and Red Potato Soup;

It is quite refreshing to see new stalls appear at my local farmers market. Recently I found two girls selling five or six different types of potatoes. Potatoes was all they had. Focus and specialize. Nice. Like specialised cheese stands or a fairly new beef stand whose selection includes tongue and oxtail (...think of oxtail soup...) or Italian fruits and vegetables with their artichokes or bio lemons that have a voluptuous knobbly shape disguised by a few dark green leaves or a local farmer specializing in lama meat charcuterie and berries or most recently a stand with a selection of gluten free offering.

Back to potatoes. Some of their varieties like Agria and Gourmandine I know and have tasted. They also had a blue variety, the "Blaue St. Gallen". It was the red ones that caught my attention this time, the Red Emmalie.

The coloured potatoes are getting a more vigorous acceptance by the restaurants. Not long ago, one of my favourite local restaurants, Mille Sens, served a green cream soup topped with freshly hand fried blue potato chips. This made my eyes eat from the plate and my head nod in appreciation.
The bio/organic sections in some supermarkets are starting to offer coloured potatoes in their selection. There are also a few farmers at the weekly market who offer blue potatoes. Slowly the potatoes are entering the colourful Samba mile at the fresh produce festival.

I find it is perfectly fine to use these rather unusual colour tubers in common ways of cooking, especially if time is tight for more sofisticated action in the kithcen. The pure fact that they are blessed with an unconventional colour the coloured potatoes will be the winners on the plate. Recently I made blue potato and garlic confit.

A mid week time saver, a classic, straightforward leek and potato soup is easy to pimp up with different colour potatoes.

Leek and Red Potato Soup
Ingredients for 2
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion, sliced
200-300g leek, chopped, without the green tops. Use the gree part in a stew or another soup, no need to waste it.
300g potatoes, (red, blue or any colour) peeled and cut into small cubes
1 bay leaf
0.75 l boiling water

fried bacon strips (optional)

1. Heat the vegetable oil in a pan and cook the sliced onion in the oil until it softens.
2. Add the potato cubes (ca. 1 cm size) together with the chopped leek and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring a few times.
3. At the same time, heat the water in an electric kettle, if you have one at hand.
4. Pour the water into the pan and cover the potatoes and leeks. (I dont´t recommend hot water from the tap)
5. Add a bayleaf and ca.1 teaspoon of salt or to your taste.
6. Cook on a low to medium heat until the potatoes become soft.
7. In a small pan fry the bacon strips and a few minutes before the soup is ready, add the previously fried bacon strips to the soup.