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My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland and Restaurant Eveby Cathal Armstrong
Synopses & Reviews
Potato and Leek Soup
Potato and leek soup served warm with plenty of Brown Bread (page 192) is one of the great staples of Irish pub grub. It is always on Meshelle’s must-have list when in Ireland. When we first put it on the menu at Society Fair, I tried to change the traditional method of making it by bumping up the cream, which wound up being totally unnecessary: another case of the old-fashioned way being the best way. However, if you want the dish to be vegetarian, it’s fine to substitute vegetable broth for the chicken stock.
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 large leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced lengthwise and coarsely chopped, well washed (see How to Clean Leeks, below)
2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper
Brown Bread (page 192), sliced
Sweat the vegetables: Melt the butter in a heavy casserole over medium heat. Stir in the leeks and potatoes and let them sweat until tender, about
Cook the soup: Add the stock and cream and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium and simmer the soup for 30 minutes, until the potatoes are completely soft.
Purée the soup: Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender until completely smooth and then pass through a fine-mesh strainer or china cap into a clean pan. Season to taste with salt. Keep the soup warm over very low heat until ready to serve. Ladle into individual bowls and garnish each serving with ground black pepper; serve with brown bread.
To reheat: The soup can be made up to 2 days before serving or frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat the soup in a saucepan over medium heat until hot and then reblend it before serving. The fat in cream soups congeals when chilled and needs to be re-emulsified.
How to Clean Leeks
Leeks are filled with sand. To clean them, you want to chop them coarsely (or however indicated in your recipe) and put them in a very large bowl of cold water. They will float to the top. With your hands, massage the pieces to separate them and allow the sand to sink to the bottom of the bowl. With your hands, scoop the leeks off the surface and into a colander.
"Rare is the American cookbook that illuminates Irish cuisine, and this personal collection from a Dublin-born, Washington-based chef and restaurateur explores Emerald Isle fare with enthusiastic reverence. Armstrong recounts his early years eating out of his father's garden, and his apprenticeships in U.S. kitchens before he opened his first establishment, Restaurant Eve, in Alexandria, Va., offering the relevant recipes along the way. Beginning with Irish breakfast, including homemade black pudding and marmalade, he moves on to 'Sunday' dishes such as kidneys in red wine sauce, his mother's potato pancakes and shepherd's pie on through his restaurant fare, like an Irish Caesar salad with brown breadcrumbs and Cashel blue cheese. While his Irish-American innovations such as foie gras with black pudding and pears, pan-roasted loin of venison with carrot puree, glazed baby carrots and brown bread cream are a bit precious and time consuming for the home cook, there are plenty of everyday eats here: potato leek soup; steamed mussels with lemon and bay leaf; and Bakewell Tart. Armstrong's emphasis on local ingredients, his amiable narrative and the lineup of dishes both classic and contemporary make a compelling case. Color photos." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Cooking and Food » Baking » Professional Baking and Desserts