OPINION: French soup surpasse expectations

I requested, and was granted, permission to leave work early this past Friday so I could attend the first showing of the new movie, “Julie and Julia.”
The movie is based on two true stories, “Julie and Julia” by Julie Powell, and “My Life in France” by Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme. I’ve read both books (twice now) and thoroughly enjoyed both, so I was prepared for the movie to be a bit of a letdown.
I was pleasantly surprised to find the movie to be very true to both books and very entertaining. Meryl Streep was very believable as chef and author Julia Child and Amy Adams did a credible job of playing frustrated secretary Julie Powell, who spends an entire year cooking every recipe from Julia Child’s first cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” with Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck.
The first recipe in “MtAoFC” is for Potage Parmentier, or Leek and Potato Soup, and it’s the first recipe Powell says she cooked from the 684-page cookbook when she began her yearlong “project.”
So Friday afternoon, I left the movie theater and headed straight for the grocery store where I bought leeks, potatoes and half-and-half (I couldn’t bring myself to use real whipping cream).
I made this soup without high expectations, because it has so few ingredients. But Julia herself writes in “MtAoFC” that “Leek and potato soup smells good, tastes good, and is simplicity itself to make.”
She was right on there. It was easy and delicious, even without whipping cream. I served it with grilled fillet mignons, roasted asparagus and, of course, a French baguette.

Potage Parmentier
(Leek or Onion and Potato Soup)
1 pound peeled potatoes, sliced or diced
3 cups thinly sliced leeks, including tender green parts, or yellow onion
2 quarts water
1 tablespoon salt
4 to 6 tablespoons whipping cream or 2 to 3 tablespoons butter
2 to 3 tablespoons minced parsley or chives
Simmer the vegetables, water and salt together, partially covered, for 40 to 50 minutes in a large saucepan. Mash the vegetables in the soup with a fork or put the soup through a food mill. Correct seasoning.
Off heat and just before serving, stir in the cream or butter by spoonfuls. Pour into a tureen or soup cups and decorate with herbs.

Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/ garden editor.

Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

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