A Mess of Potage


The autumn so far has been a miraculously fine one, but today dawned – in so far as it dawned at all – as the sort of day where soup was needed.

I had Jane Grigson’s recipe for Potage Esau in mind which is mostly bacon and lentils, although I’m guessing the bacon part is non-traditional. We had plenty of bacon (cheap soup cuts from the butcher) and the other half’s policy of buying big bags of lentils from the ethnic section of Tescos for pennies instead of small beautifully packaged bags of lentils from the posh ingredients section for pounds meant we also had plenty of lentils, but we had no onion and you can’t make soup without an onion*.

This meant only one thing:

Larry was for the chop.
deed_done trimmed chopped potage_esau

One quick forking later, and the deed was done, and the body dismembered and disposed of in time-honoured fashion. He didn’t exactly yield much (am I supposed to be earthing them up to get more of the white bit?) but his contribution was noted. And while the quantities of bacon used meant that the subtle home-grown flavour of leek wasn’t exactly to the fore, I’m sure he wasn’t sacrificed in vain.

*Although in my vegetable-fearing youth I regularly omitted the onions from recipies and I’m still here. I’m sure they’re necessary though.

12 Responses to A Mess of Potage

  1. Flighty says:

    As regards earthing up The Vegetable & Herb Expert says…Blanch to increase the length of white stem.Gently draw dry soil around the stems when the plants are well developed. Do this in stages, increasing the height a little at a time. On no account allow soil to fall between the leaves or grittiness will be the result at dinner time. Finish earthing up in October.
    I hope that helps. I haven’t grown leeks yet but think that I will next year. xx

  2. He died a noble death for a noble cause.
    I love lentils, a Nigel Slater recipe from ’30 Minuet Suppers’* with onion and chilli and a little grated cheese on top, yummy for pennies.

    *I think it is the only cook book anyone needs 😉

  3. Larry did look very beautiful – but why was he grown, if not to be eaten??

  4. disgruntled says:

    Flighty – thanks, I’ll try that if I get more survivors next year
    Mrs UHDD – I’m a big fan of Nigel too, but Jane Grigson’s Vegetable book is great when confronted with an unfamiliar vegetable. Between the two of them, you probably have most cooking covered
    DressingMyself – he was grown to be eaten (and by us, not the slugs like his siblings). The problem was, as the sole survivor of the great slug massacre, I had begun to get rather fond of him

  5. Jenny says:

    Delicious. Ah, what satisfaction in knowing you grew a goodly part of your soup yourself. I wonder if you made it harder for yourself by naming your leek? It’s usually actively discouraged to name a pet lamb/pig/chicken over here, when it’s intended for the dinner table. I must look into the whole area of trauma associated with pet vegetable death.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Glad Larry met a noble end and you are right on the money. Soup without an onion or leek is just vegetable water!

    I’ve hinted for six months about the Nigel Slater book but no joy, am now thinking of getting it for myself this Christmas it is fantastic!

  7. Lec says:

    Ooo, not sure what I did but I ended up as Anonymous….

  8. disgruntled says:

    Jenny – we found the trauma was lessened when we comforted ourselves with soup…
    Lec – hinting’s no good, it never works. Either put it on your Amazon wishlist or buy it yourself.

  9. That is (was) a fabulous leek. I have more – but nothing so regal and resplendent as yours. Leek Envy. I’m going to do better next year though. Am about to start collecting toilet roll inners.

    And I share the love of Jane Grigsons Veg book. For the bulk purchase of pulses I seek refuge in Rose Elliots Bean Book – a hang over from student days when it was a bible. The recipes aren’t that good – but there’s good ideas aplenty.

  10. […] Number of leeks harvested: 1 (but it was delicious) […]

  11. […] don’t seem to have much luck growing leeks. Last season I harvested precisely one (albeit a magnificent one). This time around, I planted the leeks indoors in an attempt to prevent […]

  12. […] also got third-time lucky with my leeks. After a first year in which I grew a single solitary (but delicious) leek, and a second year in which I grew rather more, and equally delicious but tiny […]

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