3 pounds red potatoes
2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
2 tablespoons powdered Ancho pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 bunches leeks
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 32-ounce cans chicken stock
6 shakes of Worcestershire sauce
3 teaspoons brown sugar
¼ teaspoon liquid smoke (I do believe this is the secret to Murph’s soups!)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Scrub potatoes well under running water and cut out any eyes; otherwise, leave skin on and cube.
Cover a large cookie sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil and spray with oil. Place the potatoes on the sheet, spreading them out as much as possible. Sprinkle with Old Bay, Ancho pepper, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Lightly spray oil over the potatoes and bake until browned well and fork tender, approximately 40 minutes.
As the potatoes roast, cut off the bottom ¼-inch of the leeks, along with the top half of the green portion. Cut the leeks into 2-inch pieces, and then cut lengthwise. Place the cut leeks in the sink and pull them apart with your fingers, taking care to wash the sand from each segment. Be careful and don’t rush this step, as any sand will ruin the soup.
Heat the butter and olive oil in a large soup pot and add the cleaned leeks. Keeping the heat medium-low to medium, stir the leeks from the bottom. They will begin to brown and caramelize.
After 20 to 30 minutes, the leeks should be caramelized nicely. Add 1½ cans of chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and liquid smoke. Bring to a simmer.
When the potatoes are done, place them into the pot with the leeks. Simmer for another 20 minutes or so to meld the flavors.
Ladle the mixture into a blender until the about half full. Cover tightly – hold the top on using a towel to protect yourself from steam burns and be very careful not to overfill lest there be an overflow – and blend each batch very well. The goal is a creamy mouth-feel. You may need to add a bit of the reserved chicken broth to loosen up the mixture as you blend. Pour the blended batches into a large pot as you work, then return everything to the original pot once it’s blended. You may add chicken broth, milk, or cream to the soup if it’s too thick. Adjust salt and pepper.