William "Mac" McCormack has been pulling double duty the last few months, running the 12-year-old McCormack's Irish Pub (12 N. 18th St., 648-1003) in Shockoe Bottom while preparing to open the new McCormack's Whiskey Grill and Smokehouse (204 N. Robinson St.) in the Fan. And he still found time to share this recipe, just in time to offer us a taste of Ireland for St. Patrick's Day.
- 6 large, peeled baking potatoes cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- A large box of chicken stock (or vegetable stock for vegetarian soup)
- 2 bunches of leeks, sliced, using white parts only (though tiny slivers of green can be used for color)
- 10 ounces of sour cream
- 4 ounces of cream cheese
- 2 cups of shredded white cheddar
- 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons of sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
- A pinch of rosemary
- A pinch of sage
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup of water
Sauté leeks in melted butter until they're tender. Boil the potatoes in chicken stock and water until they're tender, but do not drain them. Add the leeks to the potatoes along with salt and pepper. Remove two cups of the mixture and purée it in a blender. Return the mixture to the pot and add sour cream and cheese, the pinch of rosemary, the pinch of sage, your bay leaf and a cup of water. Simmer the soup for 15 minutes and remove the bay leaf before serving.
You'll need one fresh, chopped, de-seeded jalapeño along with eight crumbled pieces of freshly cooked, crispy bacon, 1/2 pound of broccoli florets and two shredded carrots. Sauté the broccoli florets with carrots and jalepeño in one teaspoon of butter until they are slightly wilted. At the last second, toss in the bacon crumbles and then blend it all into the other ingredients after the base soup is made, but before the 15-minute simmer. McCormack says, "This makes an entirely different soup, but it kicks!"
Add sautéed mushrooms and Madeira wine or grilled corn and roasted red peppers to the base soup before you begin the 15-minute simmer.