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On a rainy Sunday, the only thing I ever want is a comforting bowl of soup. I finally restocked the kitchen with some basics this weekend, and decided that making a simple soup was the best way to start the week. I love potage parmentier – it’s perfect, delicious, and so easy. I’ve used it as the base for plenty of other, heartier soups in the past, but on this cool-ish spring day something simple was all I wanted. I love it with a handful of fresh herbs and a warm loaf of crusty bread.

Potage Parmentier

2-3 large leeks
2 tablespoons butter
2 large potatoes
2 quarts chicken stock
1/4 cup cream
Salt and fresh ground pepper

Cut the leeks lengthwise and wash them well. Slice the white and light green parts. Peel and dice the potatoes. Heat a saute pan over medium heat, add the butter and saute the leeks until tender, about 10 minutes.  Add the potatoes and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer, partially cover the pan and cook for 30 minutes, until the potatoes are very tender. Mash them roughly with a fork and add the cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.

image via costachel

I have a number of goals this year, but my only true resolution is to get back to eating better on a regular basis. What does eating better mean for me? Less meat, particularly red and pork (but less meat overall), less dairy, more greens, and this year I’m hoping to add less gluten to the list of eating habits I’ve conquered. With that, I bring you a meal with both meat and dairy! Heh.
When the husband put risotto on his list of dinner ideas for the week, I groaned. “But it says ‘No Fuss Risotto!’ ” he cried. “Risotto is always fuss!” I retorted. Although, I will admit, I now know this recipe is much less fuss than most. Much less constant attention, and a bit more watching the clock. Oh yes, and a bit less cheese than I’ve added in the past.
Lighter, friendlier, and my definitely new favorite risotto.


image by Christine’s Cuisine

Risotto with Leeks and Chicken
via The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook

5 cups chicken broth
2 cups of water
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 12 ounce bone-in split chicken breasts, trimmed and cut in half length-wise
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 leek, white and green parts only, chopped finely
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt and Freshly ground pepper

Bring the broth and water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium low to maintain a gentle simmer.
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until just starting to smoke. Add chicken, skin side down, and cook without moving until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook the second side until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer the chicken to the saucepan of simmering broth and cook until chicken registers 160 degrees, about 15 minutes.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter into the now empty Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the leeks and 3/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the leek is softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the rice and cook, stirring frequently, until grains are translucent around the edges, about 3 minutes.
Add the wine and cook, stirring continuously until fully absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir 5 cups of the hot broth into the rice, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until almost all liquid has been absorbed and the rice is just al dente, 16 to 18 minutes, stirring twice during cooking.
Add 3/4 cup of the hot broth to the risotto and stir gently and constantly until the risotto becomes creamy, about 3 minutes. Stir in the spinach and Parmesan.
Remove from heat, cover and let stand 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove and discard the skin and bones from the chicken and shred the meat into bite-size pieces. Gently stir shredded chicken, remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, parsley, chives and lemon juice into risotto. To loosen the texture of the risotto, add the remaining broth mixture to taste. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.