Happy Friday, Friends! On Monday I shared a recipe for Irish Brown Bread. Yum!
I also shared with you a little piece of my adventures from when I studied abroad in Ireland during college. Since St. Paddy’s day is on Tuesday I am keeping the Irish theme going.
We are not talking about leprechauns and four-leaf clovers here. We are talking about some good ol’ traditional hearty food, and maybe a little bit about my time in Ireland.
Because I am obsessed, okay!
As I mentioned in Monday’s post, I lived in a small apartment with three other girls. We shared a mini-fridge in our tiny kitchen that was ill-equipped for cooking. We also had a washer/dryer beneath a counter.
Yup, you heard me right. We had a machine that was an all-in-one washer/dryer combo in our kitchen! It was strange, both for its location and also because it had a single compartment in which you first washed the clothes, and then switched the settings to dry them. One convenience was that we could fold laundry while we were eating. The downside was I usually found crumbs in my shirts as I was dressing in the morning.
As you can imagine we didn’t do much cooking in our tiny kitchen.
We lived in a lovely little suburb of Dublin called Sandymount. One of my favorite things about living in Ireland was that we walked everywhere or took public transportation. The local market was only a 15 minute walk from our apartment. We would grab a reusable cloth bag or two and stroll to the grocery store and stock up once or twice a week.
One of the items I ate often was some soup that was freshly made at the grocery store. I mean, come on, we were in Ireland January through May, the coldest and rainiest time of year in Ireland.
Soup was a must for me. I wasn’t about to make it myself with the one small dented sauce pan we had in our kitchen. I lived off of this soup that was made fresh by a local market. It was satisfying and comforting.
They had a few varieties of these pre-made soups. The one that I got most frequently was a leek and potato soup. It was light, warming, and simple, yet satisfying.
When I was thinking of traditional Irish food that I enjoyed having in Ireland I thought of all of the soups I had that some talented chef cooked up for me. I knew I had to make one.
This leek, potato, and blue cheese soup was everything I had hoped it would be. The melted blue cheese creates a tangy, salty, creamy base that is studded with chunky, starchy potatoes, and tender leeks.
I dipped some good, hearty homemade Irish soda bread into this soup and it instantly transported me back to my time spent in Ireland.
It is simple, flavorful, rustic, and the perfect side soup or appetizer to any meal, although it could suffice as a meal, depending on how much brown soda bread you eat with it.
I hope you enjoy this soup as much as I do. Cheers, friends!
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 3 large leeks, root end and dark green part cut off, and sliced in half lengthwise
- Pinch of sea salt
- 3 small Yukon Gold potatoes, or 1 large one, scrubbed and peeled
- 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled*
- 1 tablespoon coarse mustard
- 2 tablespoons white rice flour
- 6 ½ cups chicken stock
- Black pepper to taste
- FOR GARNISH:
- ½ cup blue cheese, crumbled
- 4 green onions, chopped
- Gently rinse the leeks, getting in between the layers to make sure all of the dirt is washed away. Cut the leeks into half-moon slices, about ¼ inch thick. Slice the peeled potatoes into ½ inch cubes.
- Heat a medium-sized stew pot over low to medium-low heat. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the leeks and a pinch of salt. Sauté until the leeks are tender, but do not allow them to brown, about 5 minutes.
- Add the potatoes and sauté for another 3 minutes. Stir in the 4 ounces crumbled blue cheese until melted; make sure to stir constantly so the cheese doesn’t stick. Stir in the mustard, until combined.
- Add the second tablespoon of butter and allow to melt. Once the butter is melted add the rice flour, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes.
- Gradually pour in the chicken stock, mixing as it is poured so that the ingredients get evenly distributed.
- Cover the pot, turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow the soup to simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Remove from the heat. Add black pepper to taste, and a little sea salt, if needed. The blue cheese can be pretty salty so you might not need to add much salt at all.
- Ladle into small bowls and garnish with the green onions and pieces of the blue cheese crumbles. Serve with the Irish Brown Soda Bread for dipping, if desired.
Traditionally the Irish use Cashel Blue cheese. It is their version of blue cheese, and is gluten free. It is made by Kerrygold who distributes Irish butter and cheeses in the USA. I have not found this particular cheese in my local grocery store yet. If you can’t find the Cashel Blue then use your favorite fresh blue cheese.
Although this soup recipe is made gluten-free by substituting the white rice flour for regular all-purpose flour, I do suggest serving the soup with a slice of the homemade Irish Brown Soda Bread for dipping. The Irish Brown Soda Bread is not gluten-free. Make sure to sub a gluten-free flour mix when making the bread if gluten is a concern for you.
Slightly adapted from my favorite cookbook, Irish Food & Cooking.