Thursday, March 8, 2012

50 Women Game Changer in Food - Week 38

Darina Allen, co-founder of the of the Ballymaloe Cookery School in Shanagarry, County Cork, Ireland, is #38 on the list of 50 Women Game Changers in Food.  She is the author of several cookbooks and has been called "The Julia Child of Ireland".

In honor of Ms Allen, I made her Winter Leek and Potato Soup.  It is mild and delicious with a
velvety smooth  texture. It's amazingly simple for a weeknight meal and yet elegant enough for your guests.  Definately a keeper!

Winter Leek and Potato Soup
Adapted from Darina Allen's recipe courtesy of BBC Good Food
1/2 stick of butter
1 lb potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 small onion, cut the same size as the potatoes
1 lb white part of leeks, sliced (save the green tops for another soup or stock)
3 and 2/3 cups of chicken stock
2/3 cup carton whipping cream
1/2 cup full-fat milk

To finish:
the white part of 1 leek
a small knob of butter
finely chopped chives


  1. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. When it foams, add the potatoes, onion and leeks and toss them in the butter until they are well coated. Season well with salt and freshly ground pepper and toss again. Put a disc of greaseproof paper (called a cartouche by chefs) on top of the vegetables to keep in the steam), then cover the pan with its lid. Cook over a gentle heat for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft but not coloured. 
  2. Uncover the pan and discard the paper. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil and simmer until the vegetables are just cooked - about 5 minutes. Do not overcook or the soup will lose its fresh flavour. 
  3. Purée in a blender until silky smooth, in batches if necessary, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Return the soup to a clean pan and stir in three quarters of the cream and all of the milk. 
  4. To finish the soup, finely shred the white leek and gently cook it in the hot butter for a few minutes until it is softened but not coloured. Reheat the soup to a gentle simmer (add some extra stock at this point if the soup is too thick for your liking), then pour into warmed bowls. Drizzle the remaining cream over each serving, top with a little pile of buttered leeks and a scattering of chives and black pepper and serve at once.
For more recipes by Darina Allen, please visit:
Val - More Than Burnt Toast 
Joanne - Eats Well With Others 
Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed 
Susan - The Spice Garden 
Heather - girlichef 
Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney 
Jeanette - Healthy Living 

Barbara - Movable Feasts
Kathleen - Gonna Want Seconds
Jeanette - Healthy Living
Mireya - My Healthy Eating Habits


    Sue/the view from great island said... Best Blogger Tips

    I reallllly needed this soup to go with my brown soda bread. Leeks, potatoes and cream are a match made in heaven!

    Susan Lindquist said... Best Blogger Tips

    I'm glad you made this soup! It was one of the dishes that I was looking at! I know I'll be making this soup soon! You're right ... it can go from the kitchen table with a slice of brown bread to the dining room table as a first course in a multi-course schmancy dinner!

    Bubbe Bites said... Best Blogger Tips

    Wow! What a wonderful Lent recipe. I bookmarked it for later. Thanks for sharing with us.

    Mireya @myhealthyeatinghabits said... Best Blogger Tips

    I love potato leek soup and this one sounds fabulous! We've got many good bread recipes this week to go with it.

    BeetleBuggy said... Best Blogger Tips

    Great recipe choice and perfect picture of Darina to go along with this post! :)

    Kathy said... Best Blogger Tips

    I fondly remember having Potato Leek soup in almost every pub we visited while in Ireland...served of course with soda bread! Great choice! It looks simply delicious!

    Valerie Harrison (bellini) said... Best Blogger Tips

    It sounds so perfect for this time of year, some good Irish comfort.

    Mary Bergfeld said... Best Blogger Tips

    This was a wonderful choice. The soup sounds truly delicious. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

    Mireya @myhealthyeatinghabits said... Best Blogger Tips

    The first time I had potato leek soup was a vichyssoise. I was 9 or 10 and I felt so adult. Delicious hot or cold!