In the swirl of daily life and the chaos it sometimes includes; work, kid sports schedules, paying bills, cleaning toilets, homework and dinner prep, just to name a few; it’s easy for me to feel a little lost in the shuffle.
But every couple months I get together with a group of girlfriends to cook and eat, sitting around the table drinking wine, talking about books and life. It’s refreshing and restoring when I get too far into my busy, tired, stress cycle. We started this group a couple years ago as a book club. Formed by two friends who decided they wanted to read Shauna Niequist’s Bread and Wine; a memoir slash narrative cookbook. It’s full of great, approachable recipes and when I was invited I immediately said yes! The group didn’t know each other that well other than the two friends who started the whole thing but I think it was apparent to all of us we had something special.
Our first night together we jumped in, quite literally, shuffling around the kitchen, opening drawers and cupboards to find mixing bowls, a missing spoon, the wine opener. We fell into friendship the same way. The really beautiful thing is we are a diverse bunch, from our professions, to where we live, to religion and politics, you name it; and it didn’t matter one bit.
Fast forward two years and countless dinners and we are still getting together. We almost always have to reschedule at least once or twice because life has a way of getting in the way, but we are still making it happen. We eat and swap recipes, talk about our kids, pour another glass of wine, and as I sit at the table with these dear friends, I can’t help but feel present and happy in a way that reminds me that the chaos I call my life is a really good one.
It was my turn to host last month and I decided on roasted potato leek soup. The veggies are roasted in the oven and then cooked in wine and chicken stock before being blended into soup. A handful of parmesan cheese and a dollop of Greek yogurt add a hint of tang and saltiness. I am the first to admit, it may not be the most visually appealing soup, but don’t let that stop you from making this recipe, it’s delicious.
Roasted Potato Leek Soup
- 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed clean and diced
- 4 cups leeks (about 3 large), chopped
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup white wine (I used a Two Mountain Riesling, but an oaky chardonnay would be lovely too)
- 3 cups fresh spinach
- 1 box organic chicken stock
- ½ cup 2 percent milk
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt (sour cream works too)
- ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
In a 400 degree oven, roast the chopped up potatoes and leeks on a baking tray. Before roasting, liberally coat the vegetables in olive oil and salt and pepper. Cook until potatoes are brown and crispy, about 20 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the oven and scrape them into a large pot. Heat the stove to medium heat and stir in the spinach with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a little more salt. When the spinach has wilted, usually about 4 to 5 minutes, stir in the wine, cooking for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock, lower the heat and let the soup simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Turn the heat off and using an immersion blender (or regular blender or food processor), blend the soup smooth. Add additional chicken stock if the soup is very thick. After the soup has been blended, stir in milk, Greek yogurt and parmesan cheese. Taste to make sure it doesn’t need any more salt and pepper. Serve immediately with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
You can also find this recipe in the newest edition of the Yakima Magazine.