Leek & Potato Soup

I’ve been making leek and potato soup for years. I couldn’t tell you where the recipe came from; it’s cobbled together from several websites and magazine articles. I don’t ever cook it the same way twice. If I’m busy doing something else, I’ll slow cook it for hours until the potatoes break down. If I only have 45 minutes or so, I’ll puree the soup and serve immediately. Still, I thought I’d finally put the basic recipe on the site so I can reference it later.

Here’s everything you need:

Leek & Potato Soup

  • 3-4 leeks, depending on the size (if the stalks are smaller than a quarter, get 4)
  • 2-3 russet potatoes (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 large or 2 small shallots
  • 1 bulb garlic, roasted
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 5 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup cream
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • salt & pepper to taste

I love leeks. They have great texture and a very mild flavor. To begin, you roast the clove of garlic (instructions here). While the garlic is roasting, cut the dark green parts off the leeks, cut off the root end, and cut them in half.

Leeks are pretty dirty. You just want to shake them in the water to loosen any dirt and let it fall to the bottom.

While the leeks are soaking, chop the and cook the bacon over medium heat in a 4 quart pot.

While the bacon is cooking, dry and finely chop the leeks and shallot.

When the bacon is crisp, drain it on a paper towel and pour off all but a couple tablespoons of fat. Saute the minced leeks and shallot in the bacon fat until softened, about 5-10 minutes.

While the leeks are cooking, peel and chop the potatoes into cubes.

Add the potatoes and the butter to the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring often to keep the potatoes from browning. While the potatoes are cooking, use the side of your knife to mash the roasted garlic into a paste.

When the potatoes have softened a little, add the chicken stock, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and the roasted garlic to the pot. Stir and scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for at least 30 minutes. You can go longer if you want. It’ll just break the potatoes down more.

When the potatoes are cooked through, puree the soup in batches. In my first batch, I add the bacon, parsley and pepper.

Pour the pureed soup back into the pot, add the cream, and slowly bring back to a simmer.

Once the soup has simmered for about five minutes, season to taste with salt and pepper, garnish with whatever you like (chopped parsley, chives, cheese, bacon, sour cream, etc.), and serve. I like to add a little freshly grated parmesan cheese.

NOTE: This is a potato soup; make no mistake about that. Everything that goes into the pot serves to augment the potato flavor. You really can’t mess it up. Add anything you like (except lots of salt) and it’ll taste great. When I slow-cook the soup, I use less salt and chicken stock – maybe 4 cups. The potatoes don’t break all the way down and the soup is thinner.

For a hint of cheese taste, add a little mascarpone when you add the cream at the end. You can cook this without the bacon, but I love the smoky, briny taste that comes from bacon fat. Turkey sausage works pretty well, but the spices overpower the leeks a bit. Keep in mind that with too many chewable ingredients, this morphs from Leek & Potato Soup into Potato Chowder.

Leek & Potato Soup
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