Brave swimmers will be plunging into the surf on New Year’s day during the annual Rhode Island tradition. In the Newport area, people will run into the chilly waters in four communities: at Easton’s Beach in Newport; at East Ferry in Jamestown; in Island Park in Portsmouth; and at Grinnell’s Beach in Tiverton. The annual dips, which will raise money for various charities, will take place at noon. The 1st Day Plunge in Jamestown will also include a Penguin Paddle Board Challenge at 11:30 a.m.
Parties and receptions will follow in private homes, restaurants, and clubs, and will include hot coffee, cocoa, and stronger libations. Hot soup will be on the menus also, such as this hearty potato-leek soup that’s flavored with fresh thyme. Participants and spectators will be happy to celebrate indoors after gathering in what is predicted to be cloudy weather with temps in the low 30s. And for plungers and onlookers alike, the day is filled with good wishes for a Happy New Year!
Lucky New Year Potato Leek Soup
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
3 medium leeks, cleaned and sliced (about 3 cups)
2-1/4 pounds Yukon gold potatoes (about 6 cups)
2 cups water
2 14-ounce cans, OR 32-ounce container vegetable broth
2 or 3 fresh thyme sprigs
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
½ cup half and half
In Dutch oven or large pot, melt butter. Add leeks and cook until tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add potatoes, water, broth, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until potatoes are cooked.
Remove from heat. Mash potatoes until slight chunks remain. Stir in half & half, salt and pepper. Serve hot, garnished with additional thyme sprigs if desired. Makes 8 servings.