Potato Leek Soup

If you have never made potato leek soup, you are missing out on the culinary equivalent to a warm and fuzzy pair of slippers. The unpretentious leek and the lowly potato combined, create a soup whose flavor is greater than the sum of its parts.  Serve it with warm, whole wheat bread and a simple green salad and you have a great weeknight meal. Your only regret will be that you did not make this sooner.  If you didn’t stock up before the end of regular market season, locally grown potatoes and leeks can be found now through early spring at the Winter Farmers Market.

Potato Leek Soup
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 5 servings
This recipe is very flexible and easy to double or half. In general, just use a 2:1 ratio of leeks to potatoes. Add more or less cream as desired.
  • 3 T unsalted butter
  • 3 medium all purpose potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped (1.5 lbs)
  • 5 - 6 large leeks (about 6 cups chopped)
  • 1½ t kosher salt
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • ½ t white pepper
  • 1 cup half and half (optional)
  • Chives for garnish (optional)
  1. Cut off the root-ends and green stems of the leeks. Slice the white portion vertically and separate the layers. Swish the layers in a cold-water bath so that grit falls to the bottom. Roughly chop the cleaned leeks into ¼ inch bits.
  2. In a large pot, melt butter on medium heat.
  3. Add the leeks with salt to the pot and sweat them until they become soft--about 6-8 minutes. Be careful not to brown the leeks.
  4. Next add stock, chopped potatoes, and white pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer covered for 15 minutes or more until the potatoes are soft.
  5. Turn off heat and add half & half if desired. Blend to desired texture with an immersion blender. Season to taste. Serve warm in bowls and garnish with chopped chives.

Cooking with Kids:

If you have a fussy eater on your hands, just call it potato soup.  Potatoes are an easy sell, even to the most vegetable adverse child.   My purely anecdotal data suggests that you have an 85% chance of them loving this soup at first slurp even if they fall into the category of extreme food neophobe.  Have them eat it a few times before you subtly introduce the whole name and the show them the leek.

If you want them to cook with you, have them do the prep work.  I don’t know about you, but that’s why I had kids. (Well, not really, but it’s a perk).  Kids can peel the potatoes and cut them it into chunks. This isn’t precision work; give them a steak knife and directions for keeping the knife away from fingers.  My children also enjoy washing the leeks.  Once clean, they use scissors instead of a knife to cut the leeks into ¼ inch bits.