Potato Leek soup is a cozy winter-time standard. This recipe adds a few bells and whistles: roasted garlic, creamy white beans and zingy lemon juice and zest. To give it some spice, you can add some fresh jalapeno or Poblano chile.
Heat the oven to 400. Cut the top off 1 head of garlic and wrap in a piece of foil. Optional: Wrap 1 Jalapeno or Poblano chile in a piece of foil as well. When the garlic and chile is soft, remove from oven and allow to cool.
Cut the base and leaves off 1-3 Leeks, then chop them in small pieces. You want 3 C. Rinse the chopped leeks well to remove any soil.
Scrub and then dice 2 lbs. of potatoes.
Heat 3 T. olive oil in a soup pot or Dutch Oven. Add the leeks and saute on medium heat until they are very soft and beginning to brown, 10-15 minutes. Add a little water to keep them from sticking or burning if necessary.
Add the potatoes plus 1/2 t. salt and generous amounts of black pepper. Saute to coat with oil, then add 1 quart of your favorite stock. Add 2 Bay Leaves and 1/4 t. dried or 1 t. fresh thyme leaves. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the potatoes are very soft.
When the garlic (and optional chile) have cooled, prepare them. Pop the garlic cloves out of the skins, and remove the stem and seeds of the chile.
Drain one can of Cannellini or other white beans and add to the soup.
When the potatoes are soft, remove the Bay Leaves and puree the soup in batches.
Remove the zest from 1 Meyer lemon and add to the soup. Squeeze lemons to make 1/2 C. of juice and stir into the soup too.