Both leeks and potatoes are plentiful in Irish cooking. Leeks tend to trap dirt between their layers. To clean, chop the white part only and then swish for a few minutes in a large bowl of cold water, lifting them carefully out of the water so as not to stir up the dirt at the bottom of the bowl. Clean the bowl, add water and swish a few more times or until the water is clear. This soup is rendered silky smooth with an immersion blender, an immensely handy tool in the kitchen. If you don’t have an immersion blender, purée the soup in a food processor or serve it chunky.
3 TBS butter
1 bunch slender leeks, white part chopped and cleaned
4 large russet or Idaho potatoes, peeled and chopped
5 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
In a Dutch oven, melt butter. Sauté chopped leeks until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Add potatoes, broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Purée right in the pot with an immersion blender or transfer to a food processor to puree.
Gary: Round and textured whites with a hint of crispness would be a pleasant match to pair with this traditional soup. White Rhônes (Marsanne/Roussanne blends) would be fine, as would Viognier, dry Chenin Blanc or dry Riesling. Sauvignon Blanc would be nice if it is not too overtly grassy or herbal. An unoaked Chardonnay would be pleasant, and a Macon Villages or Pouilly Fuisse close to perfection. For something unique, look for the white wines from a variety of areas in France that are based on Sauvignon Blanc, Gros Manseng or Ugni Blanc, unoaked and delicate with subtle aromas.