Classic potato leek soup ~ simple and delicious with potatoes, leeks and chicken stock, inspired by Julia Child.
A few weeks ago, out to lunch with Meathead, I had a cup of potato leek soup that was so good in it’s simplicity. I’ve never really thought about making it at home, but I’ve been craving it ever since. So, out came my Julia Child’s cookbook for inspiration and to see how to make Potage Parmentier, and along with a little research, I made the most delicious Potato Leek Soup at home. It’s now part of my winter soup rotation, along with Sweet-and-Sour Beef Cabbage Soup and Turkey Noodle Soup.
It’s potatoes and leeks, guys. That’s pretty much it. Some recipes say simmer in water, some say chicken stock. Some add cream, some do not. I chose to make mine with homemade chicken stock. I almost always have some in my freezer and I really, really like it in soups ~ it just adds depth of flavor. That said, many soups can be made with just water for the liquid, I get that and have done that. But for this soup, the chicken stock adds needed something-something to the otherwise rather bland potatoes, producing a nice flavor profile with the leeks.
As far as cream, a little goes a long way in this soup. I whisked in a few tablespoons to finish it off. I really don’t think you need a lot of cream, but certainly some to gild the lily. I’ve also read about adding some buttermilk to the finished soup for added brightness and tang, I may try next time and see if I like that. But for now, just a little cream will suffice.
The key to this soup’s light texture is the use of a food mill, instead of a blender or food processor. Running the potatoes through a food mill or ricer will keep the soup from having a gluey consistency that often happens when starchy vegetables are puréed in a processor, blender or in a mixer. I love my food mill for cooked vegetables and making purées, and don’t forget to scrape the bottom of the disk when you’re done!
Serve this soup with a sprinkling of snipped chives on top and, for me, a little hot sauce, too. This Potato Leek Soup is so good on a cold winter day ~ and so easy. Try it, you’ll like it. Promise. Best ~ Kelly
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Potato Leek Soup
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 large leeks, white and pale green parts, thoroughly rinsed, roughly chopped
- 1 quart (4 cups) homemade chicken stock or use low-sodium, good tasting, store-bought
- 2 russet potatoes, peeled, cut into quarters ~ about 3/4 - 1 pound
- 1 bay leaf
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
- 4 tbsp heavy cream
- Snipped chives, for serving
- Optional: hot sauce, for serving
- Melt butter in large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add leeks and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned, about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Add chicken stock, potatoes and bay leaf to pot. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, turn down heat and simmer until potatoes are very tender, about another 15 minutes.
- Remove potatoes to bowl and set aside. Discard bay leaf and transfer soup mixture to blender (or food processor, in batches) and carefully blend until mixture is completely smooth. Return soup mixture to clean soup pot.
- Run potatoes through food mill directly into the pot of soup (or into a bowl and then transfer to soup pot) and combine well. Over medium heat, whisk in heavy cream and bring soup to a simmer, whisking frequently. Taste for salt and pepper and serve, sprinkled with snipped chives and hot sauce.