Cooler weather calls for soup around here, especially welcome for lunch or a quick supper with salad, biscuits or crusty bread. Substantial soup, like this one made with freshly dug potatoes and fine fat leeks, chicken broth and a splash of cream is just the ticket. And since I have a garden and the last corn is finally ripening, I cut the kernels off one cob and add them, too, for a little variation.
Leeks provide a mild onion flavor for anything you make with them. They are good sliced and baked alone au gratin style with cheese, added to scalloped potatoes or used in a chicken soup with barley. This makes them versatile and less likely than an onion to leave you weeping when you slice them up.
Because growers usually hill leeks — creating a mound of dirt where gardeners expect the leek to grow — to have tender white stalks, you may very well find dirt between the leaves close to the neck. It’s a good idea to pay close attention as you slice and make sure you clean the leeks well before adding them to the dish you are making. The light-chartreuse inside leaves of leeks’ green ends are usually tender enough to use, while the dark outside leaves are often tough. Add those to a stock pot, if you have one.