The enduring popularity of potato and leek soup is no mystery. The two vegetables are a perfect pair: Potatoes lend the soup a comforting starchiness, and leeks provide a mild, sweet tang. The French take on this soup, called vichyssoise, involves a generous dash of heavy cream—it's usually a chilled summer soup. You can modify this foolproof, delicious recipe to suit your needs. Serve it cold in the traditional French manner or, on a chilly winter day, serve it with thick slices of warm, crusty baguette slathered in compound butter.
- 2 medium leeks
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 pounds potatoes, cubed
- 5 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1 small bouquet garni
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- Crusty bread or sandwich for serving (optional)
Gather the ingredients.
Trim and discard the green tops and root ends of the leeks. Halve the leeks lengthwise and swish the stalks thoroughly in cold water to remove dirt and sand. You can also rinse the stalks under running water.
Drain the leeks, dry with a paper towel, and slice into thin, even strips.
Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the leeks and sauté them until tender, but not browned. This should take about 4 minutes.
Add the potatoes, chicken stock, bouquet garni, salt, and pepper, and bring the soup to a simmer.
Cook the soup for 25 to 30 minutes, until the vegetables are very tender. To check the potatoes, poke one with a paring knife: If the knife cuts through with little resistance, you can take the pan off the heat.
Put aside a few leeks for your garnish.
Using a blender, food processor, or immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth and silky. Do this in small batches, to avoid splatters and burns.
Carefully transfer the hot potato and leek soup back to the saucepan and stir in the heavy cream.
Gently heat the soup—avoid boiling it as high temperatures could curdle the cream.
Garnish with reserved leeks and serve immediately with a side of crusty bread or sandwich. At this point, you can also chill the soup in the refrigerator and serve it in the traditional French style.
Use Caution When Blending Hot Ingredients
Steam expands quickly in a blender: Hot ingredients may splatter and burn you. To reduce this risk, puree the soup in small batches and cover the top of the blender with a kitchen towel.
Tips for Freezing
- The soup freezes exceptionally well: Transfer the blended potato and leek soup (without the cream) to an airtight container in the freezer. When you're ready to eat it, defrost it in the microwave or on the stove, then stir in the cream and garnish with leeks.