$20 or Less Series – Potato & Leek Soup

So this post has been a long time coming.  With all of the craziness of 2020, I have had little motivation to blog.  Plus, here in the US soo many people are currently experiencing food insecurities.  I, as a food blogger, have felt kind of guilty to be posting food photos left and right. Honestly, I feel like it’s throwing it in people’s faces who can’t afford to feed their families now. Sooo… I’m creating a little personal project to do what I can to help. What I’m going to do in the next couple months, is publish recipes that are all $20 or less to make.  I know a lot of people can’t afford to spend lots of money on food right now, so I’m hoping to give some ideas to those who are eating on a smaller budget.  I don’t know how long I’ll continue this, but I’m gonna try to put a recipe out every week (though right now with the pandemic and staying at home, time seems to get away from me and I never know what day it is lol).  If this is an idea you like and have a favorite dish, let me know! I’d love to create a cheaper alternative to some family favorites!

To show cost, I will also putting what I paid for in York, PA for each item via Walmart pricing because I know most people have access to a Walmart and it’s a fairly consistent price gager.  I couldn’t find anything that really gave me the average cost of grocery items in the US or even worldwide, so this is the best I could come up. (I know costs varies based on where you are in the world but this seemed the best way for me).  I’m also assuming that people have some basics in their homes like salt, pepper, water, olive oil, milk, etc. So when I calculate cost, I’m just putting the amount I used of small quantity items (i.e. 2 T of olive oil), and while I’ll put whole price of some items, I’ll break it down to what I use.  So don’t come at me in the comments to say milk doesn’t cost 24 cents or something, it’s just based on amount used and I’m not pricing out basics like water, salt and pepper.

But for our first recipe, with winter here, I decided to do quick and easy potato and leek soup.  I would strongly advise having an immersion blender, but you can also spoon out and blend in a blender or food processor (it’ll just take longer to process it all). Plus, it’s peak leek season, so the ones at the store are wonderful right now.  We get them in our produce box and the hubs gets excited whenever he sees them because he knows it’ll mean I’m making soup! Aside from chopping and washing, this soup needs to simmer and then get blended and topped with some yummies.  It takes really less then 30 minutes and the best thing? It can be eaten hot or cold.  It also freezes very well! So if you make a double batch, you can freeze it and pull it out whenever you don’t feel like cooking!

Cost Breakdown (via walmart.com) as of February 2021

  • 1 – 5lb bag of Yellow Potatoes – $4.47
  • 1 – bunch of Leeks – $2.98
  • 1 – Spicy pepper of choice Jalapeno, Serrano, etc (I used Fresno)  – .47¢
  • 1 – Bag of Carrots (we are only using 2) – .82¢ (whole bag)
  • 1 – 32oz container of Chicken Broth – $1.68
  • 4 – Bay Leaves – (fresh container in produce has about 15 in it so you’ll have some to spare) –  .98¢
  • 5 – sprigs of Thyme – (fresh container in produce or can use dry or garden grown for even cheaper) – $1.98
  • 1 – 16 oz container of heavy whipping cream (you’ll use half of a $1.60) – .80¢
  • 1 – head of garlic – .45¢
  • 2 – T of butter (1 lb pack is $2.08) – .06¢
  • **Optional Garnish – 1 – 16 oz pack of bacon – $3.47
  • **Optional Garnish – 1 – 8 oz container of sour cream – $.88

Grand Total (Including Optional Garnishes and extras in potatoes, carrots, bay leaves, thyme, and garlic) = $19.04

**This also makes a good big ole’ 8 bowls of soup so that’s $2.38 a serving!**

**To make vegan/vegetarian simply sub butter for vegan butter, cream for coconut or almond milk, and vegetarian bacon for regular bacon.**

Creamy Potato and Leek Soup

Easy potato and leek soup with a little spice.  Packed with flavor and takes 30 minutes or less to make!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 bunch leeks (usually 2-3) sliced and washed throughly
  • 2 medium to large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 small spicy pepper, chopped fine (I chose Fresno, jalapeno or serrano works too) *if you don't like handling hot peppers, chili flakes work too!
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 8-10 Peeled Yukon or Gold potatoes
  • 1 32oz container chicken broth
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 5 small sprigs of thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste

**Optional Garnishes

  • Chopped bacon
  • Sour cream (I add a little water to make drizzling easier!)
  • Thyme

Instructions

  • Slice leeks up until green tips.  Wash sliced leeks throughly, make sure to get sand and dirt out between layers.  Roughly chop carrots. Finely chop pepper and garlic cloves.  
  • In a large deep pot, heat over medium high heat. Add butter. When melted, add chopped leeks, carrots, garlic, along with ground black pepper to taste (used about a T of pepper). Saute, stirring occasionally until leeks become translucent (about 8 minutes).
  •  While leek mixture is cooking, peel and roughly chop potatoes. Once leeks are cooked, add potatoes, chicken broth, bay leaves and thyme to pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes (or until potatoes are fork tender). 
  • Remove bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Using an immersion blender (or if you don't have one, a food processor or blender will work), blend mixture until smooth. Pour in and incorporate heavy whipping cream. Stir everything until well combined. Now salt to taste. Serve soup hot or cold and top with crumbled cooked bacon, drizzle of sour cream, or small thyme sprigs. 

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