Now that we have a bit more of winter left, a warm bowl of potato leek soup is still comforting and hearty. And, it's fairly easy to make. With a handful of inexpensive ingredients and store bought broth, potato leek soup can come together in under an hour. Served along with DC Foodies frise salad, only a rustic artisan bread would be needed to make this a meal for your family, or for entertaining company. Potato leek soup can also be served cold as Vichyssoise.
What I like about this soup is that the method of making it is more important than exact measurements. A bit less broth will yield a thicker soup, as would throwing in another potato. You can really make it rich and creamy by finishing it with heavy cream if you want. You want it chunky, not smooth? Why not! It's all to your taste.
Potato Leek Soup
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 leeks, white part only, washed thoroughly and sliced 1 inch wide
- 2 shallots, peeled and rough chopped
- 2 large russet potatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs.), peeled and cubed 1 inch thick
- 1 bay leaf
- 12 peppercorns
- 6-8 fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon pepper
- 1 cup half and half
- 3-4 strips bacon, cooked and chopped for garnish
- 1-2 green onions, green part only sliced thin for garnish (or use fresh chives)
- kitchen string
While assembling your mis en place, make a bouquet garni with the bay leaf, thyme and peppercorns. In a piece of cheesecloth, place the aforementioned 3 ingredients and tie together with kitchen string. If you do not have cheesecloth, use 2 large leek leaves to hold the contents. Fold the ends of the leek leaves over towards the middle and tie like a package. If you do not have cheesecloth or kitchen string, just omit the peppercorns and add more fresh cracked pepper at the end of cooking. The bay leaf and fresh thyme can be fished out with tongs after cooking and before blending.
In a heavy bottom pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallots and leeks. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Continue to saute for another 2-3 minutes. To pot, add potatoes, chicken stock and bouqet garni.
Partially cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until potatoes are completely tender.
Remove bouquet garni and carefully transfer soup to a blender and blend in batches until completely smooth. Be careful with the hot liquid. You can also use an immersion blender.
Return soup to pot and add the half and half. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Serve with bacon and green onion or chives to garnish.