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Potato & leek soup with smoked Gubbeen cheese & chives

This is no ordinary leek and potato soup but rich and complex with a subtle smoky flavour from the cheese. We’ve been cooking from Gill Meller’s latest book, Time, and the recipes are stunning.

This is the kind of soup that goes well with Northern Irish Wheaten Bread.

Leek & Potato Soup with Smoked Gubbeen & Chives – serves 4

  • 1 litre of vegetable stock or chicken stock
  • 3 floury white potatoes (about 350g), peeled and cut into 1-2cm cubes
  • 3 medium-large leeks, sliced into 1cm rounds
  • 25g butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 shallots or 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 or 3 thyme sprigs, leaves stripped
  • 100ml double cream
  • 50g smoked Gubbeen (Gill suggests smoked Cheddar or goat’s cheese), grated, plus extra to serve
  • a small bunch of chives, finely chopped

Bring the stock to the boil in a large heavy pan. Add just a third of the potato, bring the stock back to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 6-8 minutes, or until the potato cubes are tender. Add a third of the leeks and cook for a few minutes to soften, then drain the vegetables in a colander set over a bowl to catch the stock.

Return the pan to a medium heat and heat the butter and olive oil. When bubbling, add the onion, garlic and thyme leaves. Cook, stirring, for 4-5 minutes, then add the remaining leeks and potato to the pan, seasoning well with salt and pepper. Cook gently for 3-4 minutes, then add the reserved stock and bring to a gentle simmer.

Cook the soup for about 15 minutes or until the leeks and potatoes are tender. Remove from the heat and blend until smooth.

Return the soup to the pan. Add the cooked leeks and potatoes from earlier, along with the cream, grated cheese and chopped chives. Season again, then put back on the heat and bring slowly to a simmer. Stir well, remove from the heat, and stand for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with some extra cheese, chives and seasoning.

(Original recipe from Time: A Year & a Day in the Kitchen by Gill Meller, Quadrille, 2018.)

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