You can’t go wrong with soup as a way to start any special meal. This dish is full of flavour, easy and also ideal for making in advance.
In this recipe the traditional combination of leek and potato is complemented by a very subtle fennel taste. This is achieved by adding some fennel seeds to the leeks as they are cooking. They really do add another dimension to the soup.
I like to make this soup a few hours before my guests arrive and then re-heat just before serving. I have also found that it is better when served just warm rather than piping hot as you can appreciate the flavours better.
If you aren’t keen on smoked salmon as the garnish then you could use cooked diced bacon or pancetta instead.
Ingredients – serves 6 as an appetiser:
- 25g/1 oz butter
- 2 large (or 3 medium) leeks, white & pale green parts only, finely sliced
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 750g/26 oz potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 4 cups low-salt chicken or vegetable stock (I prefer chicken stock)
- 2 heaped dessertspoons light sour cream
- a few thin slices of smoked salmon, optional, to garnish
- freshly ground black pepper, to serve
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat then add the sliced leek and fennel seeds and stir. Cook for 5 minutes or until the leeks are softened.
- Add the potatoes and stock to the pan and increase the heat to bring to the boil.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until the potatoes are very tender.
- Using a stick mixer, carefully blitz the soup in the pan until smooth. You can store the soup in the fridge at this point if you are making it in advance.
- Just before serving, whisk in the sour cream and re-heat if necessary.
- Chop the smoked salmon slices into small pieces and arrange on top of the soup as a garnish, then grind some black pepper over the top.