Marraine’s Potato Leek Soup

Marraine is a french word for godmother, but she wasn’t, she was my grandmother. Molly Corbet was my grandfather’s second wife. They were Belgian. His first wife died of breast cancer when my mom was in her late 20’s. After moving to the States during World War II, my mom and her American soldier fiance, my dad, got married. At first, my grandfather would send us care packages of Belgian chocolate (usually Cote D’Or). A few years later my Belgian grandparents moved to the States. They often stayed at our house when I was a child and cooked many wonderful things. Soups, breads, custards, salad dressings, and more.

Potato leek soup is a simple soup and definitely a comfort food. Depending on the quantity needed, you can adjust the amount of potatoes and leeks up or down. The batch I made is for about 10 servings.

6 medium-large white potatoes

3 leeks (white part only)

One yellow onion for extra flavor (optional)

2 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. white pepper

Peel and cut the potatoes into chunks and cook in boiling water until cooked through. Wash and cut the leeks into thin (1/4″) medallions, add thinly sliced yellow onion, if desired, and saute in 2-3 tablespoons of butter. Let them get soft but not brown. Once the potatoes are done, pour off half of the water, save the rest. Add the sauteed onion and leeks to the potatoes/water. Add 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and a teaspoon of white pepper. Use an immersion blender to puree the entire mixture. Or you can use a food processor or blender. (You can save a few pieces of sauteed leeks and stir them in after pureeing the soup to give it a different texture.)

Serve in a soup bowl. My grandmother would float a small pat of butter on top of the soup. Wait until it starts to melt and then dive in!

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Feeling flooded by food

There’s so much food and it’s not all good. Sure, it’s easy. I can get a can, a jar, a box, or a bag. But I’m not buying it anymore. It doesn’t have to be hard to eat fresh food. I might still buy the odd can of tunafish. Or a box of Cheerios. But when I do, I will use a guiding principle of “the fewer ingredients, the better.”

Today I made black beans and rice. Sauteed some onions (1/2 a vidalia sliced thin) in olive oil and gradually as they became soft and translucent, I added chopped garlic, cumin, coriander, chili powder, paprika, and oregano, pretty much to taste. Oh, and lest I forget the 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (thanks to Jen for reminding me). I let that simmer for a few minutes and then added a 1/2 cup of water and about a cup of black beans (cooked). I put a lid on it (heavy cookware is best) and let it simmer for about 20-30 minutes.

Earlier on and on a second burner, I had started the brown rice (Texmati) so it would be ready to mix with the beans. The whole recipe took about an hour and a half, but an hour of that was just the rice sitting there simmering. The house smells delicious and so was my dinner!

I had a black bean brownie for dessert, but I’ll give you that story next week.