Lately, I am totally obsessed with leftovers. I also thoroughly enjoy spending hours in the kitchen, especially in the winter months when it’s too cold and grey to do much of anything outdoors. I spent most of the last few months concocting simple and highly reheatable winter soups to warm us up in the absence of our new fireplace. I resisted the temptation to make anything fancy, and most often turned to a staple in traditional French cuisine: the potage.
I recently learned that what makes a soup a potage is the fact that it’s started with leeks, pureed, and usually includes cream to add a punch of richness. After that, the possibilities are endless. Week after week, I bought whichever vegetables seemed the most appetizing and threw them into my dutch oven to sweat it out. The result was always warm, rich and comforting. Different variations have included green curry, herbes de provence and coconut milk. Have some fun with it!
Creamy vegetable potage
6-8 cloves of garlic
1 C white wine
3-4 C chicken or vegetable stock
3 T butter
1 t cayenne pepper or piment d’espelette
1/4 C sour cream or crème fraiche
Salt and pepper
This is another recipe that isn’t really a recipe. You could do anything you wanted with it, including swapping out some vegetables for others, adding bacon or even cream cheese instead of sour cream. I’ll let you decide.
Start by cooking the leek, onion and garlic (all roughly chopped) in the butter over medium heat. The goal is to obtain translucent vegetables, then to up the heat near the end so that they brown just slightly. Add your pepper, salt and spices now. Once the mixture starts to stick to your pan/brown/smoke a little, add the white wine all at once and let simmer for a minute or two before turning down the heat to low.
Now, add your stock (I start with 3 cups and add more if needed; if you add too much now, your soup may not be as thick as you’d like later) and start adding the vegetables. I recommend saving the ones that don’t need to cook very long for the end. For instance, in this recipe I added my turnips first, followed by the potatoes and then the carrots. I let this cook for about 40 minutes before adding the zucchini and broccoli. Another 10 minutes and the veggies were done!
Once everything is cooked through and tender, start blending the soup. Add the remaining stock if the soup is too thick. I personally like mine nice and thick. Once the soup is blended to your liking, simply stir in the cream and it’s ready to go! This recipe makes about 5-6 quarts of soup, so feel free to freeze some for an even quicker winter meal later on!