Before I get into potatoes, a few extraneous shares:
Most of you know this already, but you can share these reasons to cook at home (from Mark Bittman) with your friends.
Then, if you need an easy meal to get to started, try a grain bowl (from the New York Times)! Which is similar to many meals that I cook.
For flavor inspiration, check out this spice chart to pair spices from different cuisines (although thanks for telling me what cajun seasoning, or garum masala, or curry powder, consist of. Not. Oh, well).
However, you may be of the mood to instead vanquish the copious amounts of potatoes spilling out of your kitchen cupboard, and would like to pair them with delicious delicate leeks that are a traditional accompaniment (“Eat my leek!” was always one of my favorite of the Shakespeare insult playing cards I had a while ago (Henry V, Act 5, Scene 1), indicating that the person will have to retract their words. The internet also says it has something to do with Welsh heritage, although I am certainly not an expert. Despite the Bard’s influence, I assure you there is nothing shameful about eating leeks, they are rather amazing—like a mild, soft onion).
Potato leek soup is fantastically easy and shockingly delicious. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should. Then add other stuff (cheese, bacon, etc.) when you get bored.
If you don’t want soup, make it into mashed potatoes and leeks by draining the water (save for another use!), adding a little butter and milk (or cream), and mashing.
The rutabagas make it nice and golden here (this is a mix). You can peel the potatoes if you want, but I can’t be bothered. If you care about having it smooth, go for it. But I kind of like the rustic approach.
Potato leek soup 1 lb potatoes (red, gold, whatever), or a combination of potatoes and other roots (rutabaga, turnips) 3 leeks, or 2 larger ones Butter 5-6 cups of water Salt and pepper
To prepare the leeks, peel off one layer, then slice off a good chunk of each green part, washing underneath. You should end up with clean, mostly white slices.
Chop the potatoes into chunks and thinly slice the leeks. If you use other roots, like rutabagas, chop them smaller than the potatoes, since they take longer to cook. Melt butter in a pan and sauté the leeks and potatoes for a few minutes, until leeks are aromatic and a little soft, then add water (the amount depends on how thick you like your soup; you can always add more later if you like, but also make sure there’s enough to cover the potatoes). Bring to a boil, and simmer for at least 10 minutes, or until potatoes are soft. For soup, mash against the side of the bowl, or pull out your immersion blender and blend it all until smooth if you want it that way (I didn’t). Add salt and pepper to taste, garnish with a little cheese if you like, and serve.
Mashed, this is also good with melted cheese (I suggest cheddar) mixed in.
Yep, that easy.