I announced back in August that I was determined to replicate the hearty Potato and Leek Soup I devoured on my recent trip to Ireland. With a little bit of experimenting and some tweaking I think I have come up with a pretty decent recipe. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to duplicate it because it was not only the taste of the soup but the setting of the dinner that created a truly memorable experience. The soup was one of several courses served at a medieval banquet held at Bunratty Castle. I was a little skeptical going into the dinner. My only experience with a medieval banquet was when I attended a banquet in Disney World. I was expecting there to be epic battles and jousting tournaments. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was not the tacky tourist destination I expected.
Dinner was served by the same group of people who provided the entertainment. A small group of men and women dressed in period costumes sang for the guests in between courses. The performers had an incredible presence along with beautiful voices. The experience was also heightened by my introduction to the delectably sweet honey wine called mead. If you enjoy sweet wine I would highly recommend you locate some mead in your area and give it a try. Apparently it is becoming pretty popular in the U.S.
There were so many awe inspiring sights on my trip it was almost impossible to capture them all. I managed to grab a few pics of some of my favorites.
I made what I believe to be a pretty basic soup. I know from my previous exchange with Shannon Heritage, the group that manages the visitors at Bunratty Castle, that they use chicken stock instead of vegetable stock. I didn’t have any homemade chicken stock defrosted when I last made this so I used vegetable stock instead. I’m sure chicken stock would be just as tasty.
Leek & Potato Soup
4 tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
3 leeks, sliced
3 potatoes, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
3 1/2 cups vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
2/3 cup light cream, to serve (optional)
1-2 teaspoons snipped fresh chives, to garnish
1.) Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, add the onion, leeks, and potatoes, and saute gently for 4-5 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
2.) Using a potato masher, mash until potatoes just begin to break down and soup is thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Swirl with the cream if using and garnish with the chives. Serve.