The calendar announced its arrival, but spring is battling winter. Despite the daffodils, I’m not sure who is winning. The temperature is plummeting below freezing tonight and today’s dreary weather, with a spattering of rain, has me seeking comfort indoors with a bowl of leek and potato soup.
Yes, I know I’m posting on soup again, but it’s time to get your fill. Before we know it, we’ll be doing everything in our power not to turn on the oven and the thought of a pot of stew, simmering on the stove, will not be as appealing in July.
As humble as it sounds, leek and potato soup is far more delicious than the name implies. There’s plenty of variation in the concept ranging from a soup of just leeks, potatoes, and water to an Irish version that adds oatmeal. My version is simple with carrot, celery, and garlic added to the standard leek and potatoes. I insist on sautéing the vegetables in butter and finishing the soup with a bit of half and half. Yes, it’s decadent, but it elevates the soup and results in the chef’s ovation: the satisfying sound of spoons scraping the bottoms of empty bowls for that last spoonful of goodness.
Make the soup in advance and refrigerate it if you would like, but add the half and half right before serving. A crank of freshly ground pepper and a smattering of chopped chives are the perfect final touch. Happy cooking!
Leek and Potato Soup – Printer Friendly Recipe
Olive oil can replace the butter and the half and half may be omitted for a healthier soup. However, I recommend using both as they give the soup an extra oomph that is worth the calories.
3 large leeks
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced
1 large celery stalk, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 ½ lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
5 cups homemade or less-sodium store bought vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup half and half
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
To Garnish (optional): finely chopped chives and freshly ground black pepper
Leeks are notoriously dirty and as a result, it is important to clean them well before using. To prepare the leeks for cooking, trim the roots and dark green leaves from each leek and discard. Chop both the white and tender green part of the leek. Place the chopped leeks in a large bowl and then fill the bowl with cold water. Swish the chopped leeks to remove any dirt and then let the leeks sit for about 1 minute to allow the dirt to settle to the bottom. Use a slotted spoon to remove the leeks from the water mixture. Discard the dirty water and repeat two more times (or more if needed). Drain the leeks.
In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the drained leeks, carrot, and celery and sauté until soft. Add the garlic and cook until just fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the cubed potato. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 45 minutes.
Remove the soup from the heat and use an immersion blender to blend the soup. If you do not have an immersion blender, a regular blender can be used but be careful to add only 1 to 2 cups of soup at a time to avoid the hot soup coming out of the top of the blender and burning you.
Stir in the half and half and season the soup to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve the soup immediately garnished with the chives and a crank of freshly ground black pepper.