Potato Leek Soup

Happy almost St. Patrick’s Day! This Potato Leek Soup is a simple and comforting way to celebrate the holiday. The mellow leeks are accompanied by Yukon gold potatoes and just a bit of cream to add richness. The soup is pureed to a super silky-smooth texture creating a warming 30-minute meal to enjoy during a brisk day. The stars of this dish are actually the toppings. Crispy pancetta, parmesan croutons and minced parsley provide a contrast in texture to the smooth soup. I always make this soup around St. Patrick’s Day to celebrate the historical reliance of the Irish people on the humble potato.

Potato Leek Soup

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 bunch sliced leeks, white and light green parts only (clean them very well by tossing sliced leeks in a bowl of cold water and then draining)
  • 6 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 8 cups peeled and cubed Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream or half & half
  • 4 oz. pancetta or bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced parsley
  • Croutons- recipe below

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in a large stockpot set of medium heat. Add leeks and cook for 10 minutes until softened but not browned. 
  2. Add chicken broth, potatoes, bay leaves, 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Remove from heat and stir in heavy cream.
  3. Allow the soup to cool slightly so as to not burn yourself while pureeing. Remove the bay leaves. Using an immersion blender, puree soup until very smooth. Alternatively, place soup in the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth. 
  4. Return soup to stovetop and heat on med-low until warmed through. Test for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed. Top individual servings with pancetta, parsley, and croutons. 

Parmesan Croutons:

  • 2 cups rye or pumpernickel bread, cut into small cubes
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Bake the croutons: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place bread cubes, oil, and a pinch each of salt and pepper on a large sheet pan. Toss well. Sprinkle parmesan evenly over the bread cubes. Bake 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Keep an eye on it, it browns quickly. You want your croutons to be golden brown on the outside but still soft on the inside. 


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