roasted leek & potato soup

hearty, creamy and full of flavor this soup practically makes itself.  i use water instead of broth when making this soup with no regrets!  browning the leeks adds a delicious roasty depth that we love (though it's a different soup entirely) and i'm not one for peeling the potatoes.  speaking of potatoes, as we've said before, non-organic potatoes are full of pesticide and chemical residue, perhaps not something worth ingesting!  support a local farmer, buy heirlooms, eat well!

3 leeks

1 lb potatoes (fingerlings are great) -roughly chop

1 tsp fresh thyme

1 sweet red chili -mince

1/2 tsp red chili flakes or 1 fresh cayenne minced

1 bay leaf

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

6-8 cups filtered water

sea salt

fresh ground pepper

for garnish: 1 roasted red pepper minced & pecorino romano or a lovely goat chevre

First off, prep the leeks. cut off the roots and make a slit lengthwise starting 1 inch from the bottom going all the way through the top leaves.  slide the leeks under running water bottom end up, opening the folds to remove all the soil and grit.

Slice up the leeks and add to a large heavy-bottomed soup pot along with the olive oil.  turn the heat to medium and saute for 5-10 minutes.  if you want soup with more of a roasty flavor, let the leeks brown, if not you are complete when the leeks have softened.  add the thyme, chilies and bay leaf and season with salt.  saute another minute more before adding the roughly chopped potatoes and water.  bring to a boil, cover and turn down to simmer.  continue to cook until the potatoes are tender 20-45 minutes depending on size and variety.  turn off the heat.

Here's the dangerous part.  you'll want to puree the whole mess (or not if you like chunky soup) with out burning yourself.  a hand blender is awesome if you have one ( i don't), a blender is pretty easy too.  add the contents to a blender being careful to turn it on very low at first and letting off some of the steam in order to not blow the lid off.  if you're worried you can also cover the top of the blender with a rag.  puree to your desired consistency and either return to the soup pot or pour directly into bowls.  serve hot topped with the minced roasted red pepper and cheese.  a slice of rustic sourdough slathered in raw butter and a simple side salad go a long way in making this meal incredible.