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End-of-the-CSA potato soup

Which is reminding me “La fin des haricots“, the French way of saying, “It’s the end of the world“, but ironically, as we might say it about something that’s really not the end of the world, or of the beans. I learned this from Clotilde (of Chocolate & Zucchini) and her series on French idioms.

This recipe is related to bottom-of-the-vegetable-bin stirfry, in that I dug out all the soup vegetables I had from the vegetable bin and the pantry – well, I still have a celeriac and about a quarter of a head of cabbage – and made them into soup. It’s also related to Ovens of Brittany cream of [main ingredient name goes here] soup, because even though Ovens is not exactly where I learned to make cream soups, it’s definitely where I made the most cream soups, volume-wise, since our normal size batch of soup was 7 gallons.


  • 1-2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • white and pale green parts of one large leek, rinsed and finely sliced – one generous cup
  • 2 parsnips, peeled, woody parts removed, and chopped – 3/4 cup
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 to 1 1/2 inch cubes – another generous cup, maybe a cup & a third
  • 2/3 cup peeled and chopped carrots
  • 3-4 cups broth, home made preferred, but you can use soup base and water, or even plain water (I had some from the summer made from dill and corn cobs)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk, half & half, or a mixture (I half half & half and half 2% milk – that’s a lot of halfs)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Pour the olive oil into a large pot that holds at least 4 quarts, and heat till fragrant. Add the leeks and some salt and pepper, give them a stir, and let them cook gently over medium heat while you chop up the rest of the vegetables. Add the parsnips, potatoes, and carrots, and continue to cook over medium heat until softened and starting to brown. They might start sticking a little bit, don’t worry about that – they’ll come loose when you add the broth.

Add the broth, making sure you have enough to cover all the vegetables – add water if necessary. Raise the heat until the mixture comes to a boil, then reduce the heat and cover and simmer until all the vegetables are soft, probably 15 minutes. In my experience the carrots take the longest, oddly.

Make the roux while the vegetables cook: melt the butter in a small skillet. Add the flour, and cook and stir for a few minutes until there’s no raw flour smell.

When the vegetables are all cooked, stir in the (cooled) roux, and keep stirring while the mixture thickens, to ensure there won’t be any lumps. Mix the half & half and milk in a spouted glass measuring cup, heat it to just slightly warm in the microwave, and add it to the soup. Heat gently, try not to boil it after you’ve added the dairy, add more salt and pepper, and serve.

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