Antoine-Augustin Parmentier popularised the
potato as a human food source in 18th-century France. Apocryphally a
version of this hearty soup was first distributed from soup kitchens
during times of famine in northern France.
You will need a hand-blender for this soup or a sieve and a lot of elbow grease! Alternatively you can leave the soup whole and call it Potage Parisien.
- 3 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
- 5 medium untrimmed leeks
- 1kg white ware potatoes - e.g. Kestrel or Marfona - peeled, diced and reserved under water
- 2 heads broccoli
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 100g butter
- 1tablespoon salt
- 250g strong blue cheese such as stilton, in 1cm cubes
- 2 tablespoons chives or parsley, finely chopped - optional
- Black pepper to taste
- Warm crusty bread to serve
- Remove the roots and any excessively damaged green leaves from the leeks, split lengthways and slice into 1cm sections. Wash thoroughly and set aside.
- Trim any dirty bits from the broccoli heads and roughly chop them. Place in a steamer or saucepan of cold water.
- Gently melt the butter in a large stockpot and sweat the onions until they soften. Add the garlic and continue cooking for a minute or two.
- Drain the potatoes and add them to the pan. Mix gently to coat them with butter and fry for a minute or two.
- Add the leeks, mix, cover the pan and sweat for about four minutes until the leeks start to soften and pack down.
- Add the salt and sufficient water to just cover the vegetables. Bring to a simmer, cover the pan and cook for twenty minutes until the potatoes are soft.
- Meanwhile steam the broccoli until just tender but still retaining a fresh green colour.
- Turn off the heat and mix in the broccoli and cheese pieces, stirring vigorously until the latter melts.
- Either blend the soup to a thick paste-like consistency (no need to get it perfectly smooth) or work through a sieve. If necessary adjust the consistency with a little water or milk. Ladle into bowls and garnish with the chives or parsley if used.
- Serve with warm crusty bread.