Q.: This year we have an abundance of leeks in our garden, for which we are grateful. I finally made Julia Child’s potato leek soup. OMG! So simple, yet so wonderful. Can I make the soup up to the point before you add the cream and freeze it? Or perhaps I should figure out how to freeze the leeks to make the soup during the winter. Any other ideas what I can do with all these leeks?
— Barbara Schmucker, Suffield Township
A.: That soup would freeze fine. Just thaw, reheat to a simmer, and add the cream or butter before serving as directed in the recipe.
You can freeze leeks. Just wash them well as leeks are so filled with grit. Make sure they are very dry, then chop and store them in freezer bags or containers for up to a year. If you want to go the extra step, you can spread the chopped leeks on a cookie sheet and freeze them individually before bagging them as you would blueberries, so they don’t turn into a giant frozen mass. But as long as you measure them beforehand this isn’t as much of a concern, because you will be making soup with them after.
You can blanch them first if you are concerned about keeping their color bright. But again, this isn’t a necessity.
As far as how to use leeks, let your imagination be your guide. You can use them interchangeably with onions. Try sauteing them in some butter and olive oil, season with salt and pepper and then spoon them on slices of toasted French baguette for an easy appetizer.
And since I know that I will get requests, here is Julia Child’s recipe for Potage Parmentier or Leek and Potato Soup for anyone else who has some leeks on hand.
(LEEK AND POTATO SOUP)
3 to 4 cups or 1 lb. peeled potatoes, sliced or diced
3 cups or 1 lb. thinly sliced leeks including the tender green; or yellow onions
2 quarts water
1 tbsp. salt
4 to 6 tbsp. whipping cream or 2 to 3 tbsp. softened butter
2 to 3 tbsp. minced parsley or chives
Either simmer the vegetables, water and salt together, partially covered, for 40 to 50 minutes until the vegetables are tender; or cook in a pressure cooker under 15 pounds pressure for 5 minutes, release pressure, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
Mash the vegetables in the soup with a fork or pass the soup through a food mill. Correct seasoning. Set aside, uncovered, until just before serving, then reheat to a simmer.
Off heat, just before serving, stir in the cream or butter by spoonfuls. Pour into a tureen or soup cups and decorate with the herbs.
Makes 2 quarts to serve 6 or 8.
— Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, Simone Beck
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