Leek and Potato Soup is a thick and creamy classic French Potato Soup that starts with garlic butter in which leeks are slowly sautéed to bring out the sweet flavour. It’s simple to make, cosy and comforting yet also luxurious and elegant. I love how it can be Couch Food or an elegant starter for a dinner party. Good food is a universal language!
Leek and Potato Soup
Though France might be the epicentre of Michelin star restaurants (second only to Tokyo!) where sauces come in the form of foam and dishes are given excessively fancy names, the heart and soul of French food is simple food made well. It’s rustic, cosy, and often generous on the butter and cheese.
Hence French food and I are very good friends. (Hello Quiche Lorraine, Gougeres, Potato au Gratin, French Onion Soup…to name a few of my best mates!)
Leek soup is another such example. (Though no cheese!).
Few ingredients, prepared well. It’s quick to make, and ridiculously delicious!
What goes in Leek and Potato Soup
Here what you need:
- Leeks – essential for a LEEK soup!!
Though if you are desperate to make this an leeks are obscenely expensive / you can’t get your hands on them, substitute for onions;
- Potatoes – use starchy or all rounders, they fall apart when simmered which means less blending for creamy soup = less risk of gluey soup*. US: Russet
UK: Maris Piper;
- Broth – I choose chicken because it has more depth of flavour than vegetable stock/broth. But vegetable stock is also ideal here!
- Creamy is optional. This soup is still thick and creamy even without, it just adds a luxurious mouthfeel.
* Common problem with Potato Leek Soups that call for blitzing to death until completely smooth. Power of blender = activates starch in potatoes = gluey. Same thing that happens if you use a food processor or blender for mashed potato!
How to cut leeks
Trim the root off. Take a peek and if you can see dirt in the layers, then split the leek in half and separate all the layers, wash them well, then slice per below.
If you don’t see dirt (like mine pictured above), cut your leeks as pictured below:
- Cut off the dark green reedy top and discard (leftmost on leek above);
- White end (and the very pale green part) – finely slice; and
- Pale green middle part – peel off reedy outer layers and finely slice the softer middle part.
How to make Leek and Potato Soup
Leek are like onions – they have a pretty harsh raw flavour. So the key to a really great Leek Soup is to slowly sauté them in garlic butter until they transform and become soft and sweet. It’s kind of like caramelising onions for French Onion Soup – except we don’t take it as far.
After that, just plonk the potatoes and stock in, simmer until the potato is literally crumbling (the softer they are, the less blending we have to do = better soup texture, no risk of “gluey soup”).
Blitz, stir in cream and serve!
I like to serve mine with croutons. Just a teeny tiny sprinkle of crunchy buttery bread somehow magically makes any soup so much more fabulous.
And while this is a potato based soup, that still doesn’t stop me from tearing up hunks of crusty warm bread, slathering in butter and dunking into the soup.
Carb on carb fabulousness! – Nagi x
PS Or try one of these Soup Dippers – these existing on my website pretty much solely for the purpose of dunking into soups and stews.
Watch how to make it
Leek and Potato Soup
- 2 tbsp (30g) butter
- 2 garlic cloves , large, finely minced
- 3 leeks , white and pale green parts only sliced thinly (about 2 cups) (Note 1)
- 1 kg / 2lb potatoes (Sebago/Russet/Maris Piper) , peeled a diced into 1″/2.5cm cubes (Note 2)
- 1.5 litre / 1.5 qt chicken or vegetable stock , low sodium (6 cups)
- 3/4 cup (185 ml) cream , heavy/thickened (sub milk)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 thick slices bread , torn into crouton size pieces
- 1 tbsp melted butter, or olive oil spray
- Chives , finely chopped
- Extra cream , for garnish
Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and leek and sauté for 7 minutes until soft and sweet.
Add potatoes and broth. Turn heat up and bring to simmer, then place lid on and lower heat so it’s simmering gently.
Simmer for 25 minutes or until potato is very soft and almost falling apart. Turn the stove off and puree with a stick blender until JUST smooth. Do not over puree (Note 3).
Add salt and pepper, then stir through cream.
Serve, drizzled with cream and sprinkled with chives and croutons.
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Drizzle bread with melted butter (or spray with oil). Bake for 5 minutes or until golden and crunchy. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt while hot!
You can substitute with onions if you prefer – chop and sauté on low for 10 to 12 minutes until soft and sweet. Don’t let them caramelise.
2. Potato types:
- Australia – Sebago (dirty brushed / common washed potatoes you can get at any supermarket. Do not use red potatoes or new potatoes i.e. the ones that you use for potato salad because they are low in starch so will not break down as much when boiling to create a creamy soup)
- US – Russet
- UK – Maris Piper
3. Pureeing – do not puree it for too long! Only puree it until it is just smooth. The reason is that excessive churning of potato can cause it to turn gluey. That’s why I never make mashed potatoes in a food processor – it becomes sticky! It’s also the reason why using a stick blender is better than using a blender for this recipe – you can control the pureeing better.
If you only have a blender, I strongly urge you to mash the potato in the liquid with a potato masher first, then transfer to blender and pulse until just smooth.
4. Source – The first time I made Leek and Potato Soup I used a Julia Child recipe. While it was decent, I felt it could be brought into the 21st century with a flavour boost *she ducks and millions of people around the world throw rotten tomatoes at her* so here are the changes I’ve made to her original recipe:
- I use vegetable or chicken stock instead of water;
- Leeks are sautéed in garlic butter instead of just simmered in water
- I added garlic. Because in my world, where there is butter, there is garlic!
- I added croutons. Because buttery crunch + creamy leek soup = match made in heaven
(There is also the possibility that leeks and potatoes in France have superpower flavour so she didn’t need all those flavour boosting steps).
5. Nutrition per serving assuming 5 servings which is meal size. This will easily serve 8 people as a starter – Leek Soup is a classic, elegant starter at fine dining restaurants!
Originally published October 2015. Spiffed up March 2020 – most importantly, new Life of Dozer section added!
Life of Dozer
Cactus and Dozer is like me and chilli – I know it’s gonna hurt, but I just can’t resist.
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