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Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Leek & Potato Soup Recipe

If I told you that I had a fabulous soup recipe with only three ingredients in it, would you believe me? Leeks, potatoes and water or chicken broth. Oh and a little butter to saute the leeks in, that's it.

It seems to be a mantra these days that by using the best ingredients one really doesn't need to do much to turn out a great meal. Leek and potato soup epitomizes this thinking. You can add milk or cream or top it off with a dollop of sour cream if you want to fancy it up, but it's really not necessary. Based on my own research (which is corroborated by the reviews of other cooks who have reacted to the multitude of leek & potato soup recipes posted on complicated preparations with more ingredients tend to distract rather than enhance.

There is something so comforting about leek and potato soup. Its pale matte green color is comforting. Its smell is comforting. And of course the taste, mellow oniony leeks and potatoes combined together in a thick pottage is, well, comforting. Either smooth or chunky its soft texture and mild flavors are as soothing as flannel sheets. It's a great soup to go with a sandwich or just on its own. And it's the best antidote to a day of gustatory indulgence where you want something just short of another meal. Does this happen to you on the weekend sometimes? If so, you're not alone.

Here is my recipe for leek and potato soup. It's a soup that actually does not need fancy spices or herbs to make it taste good...ok I lied, this soup does need plenty of salt and pepper!

Couldn't-be-easier Leek and Potato Soup


2 leeks (white and pale green parts only) cut in half lengthwise, thinly sliced
3-4 potatoes peeled, cut in half then sliced
1 Tablespoon butter
4 cups or so of chicken broth or water or a combination (home made broth is best, of course)
salt & pepper to taste


Note: To clean the leeks, place the chopped leeks in a bowl of water and swish around until the leeks are clean. Lift the leeks out carefully, leaving the grit in the bottom of the bowl.

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks; stir to coat with butter. Cover saucepan; cook until leeks are tender, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add potatoes. Cover and cook until potatoes begin to soften, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add liquid. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 20 minutes.

Puree soup in batches in processor until smooth or use an immersion blender directly in the pot. Thin with additional broth, water or milk if soup is too thick. This soup can be very smooth or chunky as you prefer. Season with a good amount of salt and a little pepper. Top with a swirl of creme fraiche or sour cream if you desire.