friday reflections – 1.29

It’s cold in Seattle this week. Nothing major. But my face hurts a little when I’m out walking kind of cold. It’s got my mind turned toward pho but short of ordering out again, pho just isn’t going to happen. Not at our house, anyway. We tried our hand at homemade pho once and it was so, so bad. It took us two full days to get the stock ready — not to mention various trips to various specialty stores for all the ingredients — and the pay off was nada. Zilch. Nothin.’ It didn’t taste anything like pho. And that was only the broth part of the experience.

Listen: when a bowl of perfect pho with all the limes and basil and hoisin sauce a girl could ask for is four minutes from the house and, like, seven dollars? Just give up your dreams of becoming a Vietnamese chef and keep the takeout number handy. It’s pretty simple math.

When discussing weeknight dinner options once with a friend of mine who is Korean American, she said “What’s the deal with soup? Like, American white lady soup? I just can’t wrap my mind around it. How is soup the whole meal?”

I nodded sagely. She had come to the right person. Because what I can make is soup. I’ve got the American-white-lady-soup-that’s-an-entire-meal thing completely dialed in.

So what I want to share with you today is my new favorite soup recipe. For the nights when calling the pho place isn’t an option* and you need to get in touch with that middle-aged caucasian vibe.

I went looking for the recipe because last month, about a week before Christmas, Jason announced that he wanted to make a potato leek gratin for our holiday meal. Here’s how the conversation went:

Me: “Really? Is that who we are now? Are we gratin people? Has it come to this?”

J: “We could be gratin people.”

Me: “No.”

J: “C’mon, let’s be gratin people!”

Me: “No.”

J: “C’mon!”

Me: “No. Do you even know what gratin is?”

He didn’t. And around and around we went. So I found a recipe to appease his desire for potatoes and leeks while NOT being a gratin. If you don’t know what a gratin is, you are (a) lucky and (b) probably not a 40+ white person. (For his part, Jason grew up overseas so he missed out on late 80s / early 90s white American cuisine.) A gratin is basically limp potatoes soaking in milk. Which is…, just NO. Anyway.

I found a recipe for potato leek soup over at Once Upon a Chef and then tweaked it a little to fit our family because we’ve got various food issues/allergies. I didn’t have high hopes for it, honestly. I just didn’t want milky potatoes. But we ended up liking it so much that we’ve already made it again and we’ve got a batch in the freezer. And yes, this is a meal all by itself. Especially when there is bread involved.

Potato Leek Gratin Soup

  • 3-4 tablespoons butter
  • 4-6 large leeks, roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with the side of your knife
  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped
  • 7-8 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream (or full fat vegan alternative)
  • 1 lb sausage, crumbled (animal or plant-based)
  • 2 chives, chopped
  • 1 avocado, sliced (optional)
  1. Melt the butter and add the leeks. Saute 10 minutes
  2. Add potatoes, broth, bay leaves, salt & pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, simmer 15 minutes
  3. While soup is simmering, cook the sausage.
  4. Remove the bay leaves and puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Drizzle in cream or dairy alternative and stir. Salt to taste.
  5. Serve with sausage, avocado and chives on top.

I’ve made the soup with cream and I’ve made it with full fat oat milk. Both were great. We used Hot Italian Beyond Sausage. If you’re going to freeze it, do so before adding the cream.

*it’s… kind of always an option