Seasonal recipe No 26 – Leek soup with parmesan

In his Kitchen Diaries Nigel Slater describes this as a “velvety soup for a clear, cold day”- seems very appropriate at the moment. He says he never throws away parmesan rinds – “no matter how dry and cracked they get, the craggy ends are full of intense, cheesy flavour”. You’ll need a couple for this recipe.

Serves 6

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 1 hour

3 good-sized leeks
about 40g butter
3 medium-sized potatoes
parmesan rinds
1.5 litres light stock or water
a handful of parsley
6 tbps grated parmesan

Trim the leeks, slice into thick rings and wash thoroughly. Melt the butter in a heavy-based pan, then tip in the washed leeks and let them soften slowly, covered with a lid, over a low to moderate heat. After about 20 minutes and with some occasional stirring they should be silkily tender.

While they are softening, peel the potatoes and cut them into chunks. Add them to the leeks when they are soft and let them cook for five minutes or so, before dropping in the cheese rinds and pouring in the stock or water. Season with salt and black pepper, then partially cover and leave to simmer for a good 40 minutes.

Remove and discard the undissolved cheese rinds, scraping back into the soup any cheesy goo from them as you go. Add the leaves of parsley and blitz the soup in a blender. Check the seasoning – it may need a surprisingly generous amount of salt and pepper – and bring briefly to the boil. Serve piping hot, with the grated parmesan.

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