When you enjoy your first spoonful of this Potato Leek Soup, you'll wonder how it can taste so delectable and be so velvety rich when it's made in minutes with just a few simple ingredients (and has just 180 calories per bowl!). The quick sauté of leeks and onion in butter create the flavor foundation of this soup, waxy potatoes add body, and a splash of milk or cream to finish make it silky smooth.
One of our favorite pastimes when we visited Paris, was to wander the daily farmer's markets and gawk at the vegetables. We were staying in a small apartment in the 14th arrondissement that had a little kitchen where we cooked a meal or two every day. Simple things: baked eggs and toast, roast chicken, gratin dauphinois (sounds fancy, but is really easy), and soups.
Paris Farmers Market
Ambling along the rows of vegetables, the lanky, light green leeks and shiny, firm potatoes beckoned to us. And this potato leek soup required little else.
Onion and Leeks soften in sizzling butter, then welcome flavorful broth and cubes of waxy potatoes with delicate skin that requires no peeling. Together they simmer until the potatoes are tender. Then all are blended and finished with a dribble of milk or cream and a scatter of fresh chives.
A couple of times we didn't have broth on hand and made this potato leek soup recipe with a water base (you can also use vegetable broth). It was equally delicious to the broth based version. I've found this to be true with other soups as well, like Albondigas Soup and Caldo Verde. Though I love broth based soups, water doesn't compete with the other flavors and can allow them to shine.
How to Cut Leeks for Soup
When you cut leeks for soup, start by cutting each leek in half lengthwise. Carefully peel back the outer layers and run under cool water to rinse away the grit that likes to hide there. Then place the leek half, cut side down, on a cutting board and slice into thin half moons. When making soup with leeks, it's important to soften them in oil or butter before you add the broth or water so they take on their best, buttery soft consistency in the soup.
Serve this soup with fresh bread and a simple green salad, or Crab Salad if you're feeling fancy, for an entirely comforting meal.
How to Make Potato Leek Soup
Step 1: Melt butter in a medium pot; add onions. Cook and stir until softened, about 3 minutes. Add leeks; cook and stir 5 minutes more.
Step 2: Add potatoes and broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Blend in batches using a traditional blender (cover with a towel instead of the lid when blending hot liquids) or with an immersion blender to your desired consistency.
Step 3: Return soup to pot; stir in milk or cream and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Reheat if necessary. Serve topped with fresh chives.
Potato Leek Soup
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 2 large leeks rinsed and cut crosswise into ¼-inch slices
- 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes or other waxy potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 4 cups chicken broth or water or vegetable broth
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ¼ cup milk or cream
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh chives for garnish
- Melt butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir until softened, about 3 minutes. Add leeks; cook and stir another 5 minutes. Add potatoes and broth. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.
- Blend in batches using a traditional blender (see recipe note #1) or use an immersion blender to reach your desired consistency (from slightly chunky to silky smooth).
- Return soup to pot. Stir in milk or cream and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Reheat if necessary.
- Serve topped with chopped chives.
- If you use a traditional blender (not an immersion blender), cover the top with a clean towel instead of the lid when blending anything hot - otherwise it will splatter out and could burn you and make a terrible mess.
- Half and Half is a nice compromise between milk and cream if you happen to always have it on hand like I do (coffee!).