Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Potato Leek Soup Is a Winter Comfort


On a gray, dismal, gloomy January day, there's nothing like a warming soup to comfort you from the inside out and brighten your spirits. This potato leek soup fits the bill in spades, or at least in spoonfuls.

One of the best things about winter is that it's soup season. I could eat soup every day, and every kind of soup. Even from a can.

My favorite time in the kitchen is transforming last night's leftovers from dinner into today's lunch.
Sauté diced carrots, celery and onions, add pieces of last night's roast beef, maybe add some cooked rice or pasta, and then broth. Makes me feel so chef-y, or at least like the cook at the family diner preparing the soup du jour.

I hate to waste food. I've made soup out of leftover spaghetti and lasagna. Sometimes these leftovers turn into frittatas, but more often, soups.

Sometimes, though, I really do follow a recipe for soup and get all the ingredients ahead of time, like I did with this potato and leek soup.

Served cold, this soup is called vichyssoise,  but I'm not particularly fond of chilled soupsso I'll just call this warm vichyssoise.

I did make a few adaptations from the recipe that guided me: I used, red potatoes, instead of Yukon gold, dried thyme, not fresh, and I sprinkled bacon on top to appease my very carnivorous Mr. Rosemary.

A stick blender greatly simplifies the process of pureeing a soup like this.  You can, of course, use a blender, transferring the potato and leek mixture in batches, returning to the soup pot each time. Messy.

I also have to caution you about the leeks: They can be a bit of a chore to clean. After chopping off the root end and cutting off the very green tops, you need to separate the leaves to be sure and get any grit that nestles in between the leaves completely out. Leeks have such a nice mellow, oniony flavor; worth the effort.

Other than that, this soup is a piece of cake, easy as pie, a no brainer. With an afghan, a fire, a good book, you've got January licked -- by the spoonful.

Potato and Leek Soup

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large leeks, white and light green parts only, roughly chopped (about 5 cups)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
7 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup heavy cream
Chives, finely chopped, for serving

Melt the butter over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add the leeks and garlic and cook, stirring regularly, until soft and wilted, about 10 minutes. Adjust the heat as necessary so as not to brown.
Add the potatoes, broth, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper to pot and bring to a boil. Cover and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are very soft.

Fish out the thyme sprig and bay leaves, then purée the soup with a hand-held immersion blender until smooth. (or use a standard blender, blending the mixture in batches and returning to the soup pot.) Add the heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. If soup is too thin, simmer until thickened. If it's too thick, add water or stock to thin it out. Garnish with fresh herbs if desired.



  1. Leeks and potatoes are magic together, particularly when combined in soup. Any soup! And this one showcases their flavors beautifully. Such a nice recipe -- thanks.

  2. Thanks, John. I just love this soup. Dealing with leeks? A bit of a hassle, but worth it.


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