What our tiny Island farmers’ market may lack in quantity, it makes up for in quality. Over half of the farmers are local to the Island, which means they travel, on average, only five miles or less from their farms to the market. This makes my heart swell.
Many have followed in the footsteps of parents, grandparents and great-grandparents who paved the way for local agriculture, and now, organic farming and sustainable farming practices. Our market proudly displays small, family farmers with big community spirit, talented artists, musicians, and even, a lovable little pony for the kiddies (and adults).
Strolling through the market this time of year means only one thing: Potatoes. And more potatoes. That is, if you happen to see the market through my husband’s eyes. As many of you are well aware, I live with an Irishman. He knows a thing or two about potatoes. This soup is all him. I love him for that.
My heart swells some more.
MARKET DAY POTATO AND LEEK SOUP, yields 4-6 servings
Music Pairing: Nick Drake, Place To Be
- 1 lb fresh leeks
- 1-1 1/2 lbs potatoes, diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 20 black peppercorns
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 5 cups organic chicken stock
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- plain yogurt
- parsley or chives
Halve the white portions of the leeks lengthwise and rinse under cold running water. Clean thoroughly. Slice thinly crosswise and set aside. Prepare bouquet garni by placing bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme together in a small piece of cheesecloth. Bundle and tie with string. Set aside.
In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add the chopped leeks and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the reserved bouquet garni, chicken stock, potatoes, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are falling apart.
Remove the bouquet garni. Working in small batches, puree the soup in a blender. Secure lid tightly and place towel over lid for extra protection. Stir in milk and adjust to taste. Serve immediately with a big dollop of yogurt and chopped parsley/chives.