Potato Leek Soup with Carrots

This cantaloupe colored soup is perfect for spring. It can be eaten warm for those cool evenings or cold for those warm afternoons. In addition to being a rich source of antioxidants, the carrots add a mellow sweetness that marries well with the onions, leeks and potatoes. I made the recipe as a blended soup, but if you prefer a chunkier style consider blending just half of the soup or not blending it at all.

Based on the recipe Carrot and Leek Soup in Provençal Cooking by Mary Ann Caws

2 T olive oil
2 T butter
2 lb leeks, cleaned and chopped*
1 lb carrots, peeled and diced
2 lb onions (about 3 medium), chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ lb potatoes, diced
5-6 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
2 bay leaves
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt to taste
¼ – ½  t white pepper (optional)

Heat the oil and butter in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the onion, leeks, carrots and garlic and sweat over medium heat until the onion starts to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, potatoes and herbs. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover and gently simmer for about 15 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Remove the bay leaves and thyme stems. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup or blend it in batches in a blender. Add salt and white pepper to taste.

*Generally leeks purchased from the grocery store are pretty clean, but you do want to check that there is no dirt hidden between the layers. Chop off and discard the tough green top and slice the remaining white part into quarters lengthwise. Rinse the sections under running water. Shake off the excess water and chop.