Fans of mashed potatoes are going to find a lot to love about this rustic potato leek soup. This time-honored recipe makes it easy to dish up an inviting bowl.
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Anyone with Irish heritage probably knows potato leek soup as a class comfort food traditionally served on cold winter days in Ireland. But if you always thought of potato leek soup as a French dish, you’re not wrong either — the famous Vichyssoise is an almost identical soup except for the fact that it’s served cold. (If you’re reading this in winter — and since you searched for soup, I’m guessing you are — we probably feel the same way about cold soup right now.) Julia Child popularized potato leek soup for American palates, but we wanted a lighter, healthier — but no less fabulous — version of her recipe.
So what’s up with leeks? If you haven’t yet been introduced, they’re onion’s sweeter, milder cousin — yes, that means you can chop them up without shedding a tear. They add a nutrient-rich zing to this simple but hearty potato soup. Give your leeks a good scrub — they tend to be a bit dirty — and only use from the white part up to the pale green (you can save the tougher dark green leaves for making soup stock).
The herbs really jazz up this soup, so use fresh thyme if you can (dried will, of course, do just fine). As your soup simmers away, the tiny leaves will drop off into the broth and infuse it with thyme’s slightly minty flavor and woodsy aroma. You don’t need a fresh bay leaf for this recipe, but try not to use one that’s been sitting in your spice drawer since the dawn of time. Bay leaves have more than 50 flavor compounds, and the longer you leave one in the pot, the more that distinctive fragrance will develop. Just remember to take out both herbs before you blend the soup.
We used an immersion blender to reach a smooth, luscious consistency, but if you prefer a thicker soup (or haven’t yet added an immersion blender to your arsenal of kitchen gadgets) feel free to use a potato masher.
It’s super easy to make this a vegetarian soup: simply use veggie stock instead of chicken broth. Leave out the cream (or sub in your favorite nondairy milk) to veganize it. We served our potato leek soup with some crunchy croutons and garnished each bowl with a sprinkling of fresh chives. Meat-eaters just might like to dress theirs up with bacon crumbles, too.
Potato Leek Soup
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 medium leeks (3 cups), rinsed and chopped
- 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 quart vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 cup water
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ⅓ cup minced chives, for garnish
- Over medium heat, melt butter in a large stockpot or dutch oven. Add leeks, season with 1 tsp. salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Add potatoes, stock, water, bay leaf, thyme, and black pepper.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and falling apart. Remove from heat.
- For a slightly chunky texture, mash with a potato masher then puree slightly with an immersion blender.
- Season with more salt, as needed, and add heavy cream.
- Serve garnished with croutons and chopped chives.
Have you ever met anyone who doesn’t love potatoes? Roasted, fried, baked, and now, liquified… yum!