I’m into soup. Really into it.
My love for soup isn’t conditional. It’s not just for bisques or just for stews. It isn’t just for chicken noodle soup when I’m feeling down. No, my love for soup runs deep.
I’ve waited in line for well over an hour to get some killer Ramen. I’ve checked and re-checked spelling to find the best Mulligatawny. I’ve toured New England just to check out the best Clam Chowders (New England, Manhattan AND Rhode Island!). Let’s just say, I’ve put in the work.
Yet, despite the wide world of delicious soup options, I always find myself coming back to my one and only – potato leek soup.
Potato leek soup, even at its most simple, is absolutely perfect. While you can jazz it up with heavy cream or creme fraiche, it doesn’t need it at all. You can make a very simple potato leek soup that is absolutely packed with flavor, with just a few ingredients and keeping it pretty healthy on the whole.
Before we get started, one important thing to consider is what kind of potatoes you’ll roll with. If you’re looking for pure rustic enjoyment, go with traditional russet potatoes or red bliss. For a more buttery flavor profile, use yukon gold. Although most recipes call for russet, I love both the look and the flavor of yukon gold. Since I don’t blend my potatoes, their appearance is important, but that’s just personal preference.
Rustic Potato and Leek Soup
- 2 pounds potatoes, cubed into large chunks
- 3 large leeks, coarsely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 4 cups of stock
- 2 tbsp of butter
- 1 tsp thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
One word of caution regarding leeks. You want to remove the tough outer layer and tops of the leeks, but your leeks hide a dirty little secret… literally. Make sure you open up the individual layers and wash out any dirt. They won’t make for pleasant eating otherwise.
Now that your leeks are squeaky clean, let’s get down to cooking! Start by melting your butter in a large saucepan. Toss in your garlic leeks and cook them low and slow, about 20 minutes, until softened. Don’t rush this, you don’t want the leeks to lose their sweetness and turn bitter, so if your butter starts to brown lower the heat.
Next add your potatoes, thyme, bay leaves and stock. I personally like chicken stock, but you can just as easily use vegetable stock and make the recipe vegetarian. If the stock doesn’t quite cover all of your potatoes, add water until they’re all nestled in there. Don’t worry, the flavor will not suffer.
Bring to a boil, and then reduce to low heat and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until your potatoes are softened and easily pierced by a fork. Add your salt and pepper, and feel free to garnish with some fresh herbs – chives are a great addition.
Aaaaand we did it! You can now enjoy the very best that the soup world has to offer. I personally like a chunkier soup, and so I don’t bother blending my potato leek soup.
If you want it to be creamier, feel free. Using a blender, or an immersion blender, certainly works, but it can cause the starches in the potatoes to burst and turn a bit gummy. If you want it to be reeeeeaaaally siiiiilky, separate the potatoes and put them into a potato ricer while you blend the garlic, leeks and liquids.
But it’s comforting and delicious no matter how you prepare it. The leeks have a mellow sweetness, and the potatoes give it some rich body while drinking up the flavors of the bay leaves and stock. The thyme gives it just a hint of herbaciousness, while letting the leeks and potatoes be the stars of the show.
So whether you’re fan of pho, or an egg drop enthusiast, make sure you make time for potato leek soup. It’ll make your face happy.
Not Chef Jared