The last time I visited Italy no fewer than three old friends mentioned a potato soup I used to make. I was a little surprised that they still remembered it after all these years. I actually hadn’t made it since moving back to the States in 1993. The recipe was from an old cookbook, ‘The Vegetarian Epicure’ by Anna Thomas, that was a gift from my mother. I was able to track down a copy of it at a local used book store and found the original recipe. I made a few minor modifications because some of the ingredients were hard to find in Italy. Here’s the version that I served to my Italian friends; with a Sun Oven update of course.
Solar Potato and Leek Soup
5 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced
3 leeks, white and green parts only, washed carefully and chopped
3 to 3 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 1/2 cup milk (room temperature)*
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
Set Global Sun Oven out to preheat.
Put potatoes and leeks in a light-weight, dark metal pot, add salt and enough water to just cover the vegetables. Cover and cook in Sun Oven until the potatoes are tender, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Add milk and fennel seeds, continue cooking in Sun Oven until the potatoes start to fall apart, about 30 more minutes. Remove from Sun Oven, stir in butter and cheese. Add pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley.
*the milk can be heated, in a microwave or stovetop, before adding it to the soup to speed up the cooking time.
Fennel is a spice that is not loved by all. The original recipe called for caraway seeds and dill which were unavailable in Italy. It also called for sour cream instead of Parmesan cheese, that was stirred in along with the butter just before serving.