Potato Leek Soup for Surviving Winter

My appetite changes with the season. In the winter I appreciate things that warm you up and keep you warm. Like soup. In the summer, soup takes a back seat to pasta salads, potato salads, slaws, grilled meats and fresh fruit. A warm cup of soup on a winter day makes the transition from morning coffee to lunchtime that much easier. Yes. I use coffee to keep warm. Sometimes tea too.

There is something about a well-balanced soup that makes me smile on the inside. Over the years I’ve learned the importance of making my own soup. The ability to control the seasonings, the amount of salt and to add fresh vegetables makes each and every drop worth it in my book. It doesn’t hurt that it fills the house with wafts of its savory goodness as it simmers away the afternoon.

I hadn’t attempted a potato leek soup before now, mostly due to the fact that I don’t appreciate soup recipes that call for adding chicken stock or broth when there is no chicken in the soup. I’m big on making it from scratch, and adding chicken where there is no chicken or beef where there is no beef just doesn’t make sense to me. Perhaps it’s the former vegetarian in me screaming to be let out. Plus, my freezer stash of frozen stocks and broths is gone. We haven’t had a whole chicken in quite a while. I should add that to this week’s menu. When I saw a recipe for potato leek soup on Food Woolf that started with nothing but leeks and water, I was instantly sold, with some tweaking, of course. I can never leave a recipe alone.

So, um, naturally, start by chopping three leeks. You could slice the stalk in half first to make moon shapes, but I find the circles to be appealing and, well, fun.
Chopped Leeks
In a large stockpot over medium heat add a bit of olive oil. When it’s nice and hot, add the leeks.
Leeks Frying in Oil
Sauté for ten minutes until they are soft and sweaty.
Frying Leeks in Oil
And then add two cloves of garlic for good measure and sauté for 30 more seconds.
Leeks and Garlic
Pour in two quarts of agua.
Add Water to Leeks
Add in the green tops of the leeks to give it even more flavor. We’ll remove them later. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.
Leeks Boiling
After 30 minutes, remove the long green tops of the leeks, but don’t discard yet.
Remove Green Leek Tops from Water
You could make a bouquet garni with the leek tops before they are simmered, but I didn’t have any issue using them post-simmer. In fact, I think they were easier to stuff full of thyme, peppercorns and bay leaves.
Bouquet Garni for Soup
Secure the bouquet garni with some kitchen twine and toss it right into your simmering leeks.
Bouquet Garni 2
Next to come to the party will be one and a half pounds of potatoes, the gold variety, peeled and diced. Add those to the pot as well
Diced and Peeled Yukon Gold Potatoes
And now add a bit of white wine. I went with a pinot grigio because, well, we’d opened the bottle the night before and hadn’t finished it. All the more reason to cook with it.
Add Wine to the Broth
And then continue to simmer until the potatoes are tender.
Bouquet Garni in Broth
It took me about 45 minutes before I was really satisfied with my potato texture.
Find your friend, Mr. Heavy Whipping Cream. You really don’t need to add him, but why not? Okay. If you want, no cream. Go completely vegan and omit entirely, or you could try adding a bit of milk if you’re afraid of the extra calories and fat. I, obviously, am not. Bring on the cream.
Cream to Soup
And at this point you’re ready to season with a bit of salt and white pepper and hit the blender or the food processor.
With Cream
Return to the stockpot and heat to desired temperature or store in a heat-proof container in the fridge or freezer until ready to heat and serve. When you’re done, you’ll have a thick and creamy soup, sure to warm you from the inside out.
Potato Leek Soup on Table
And keep you warm as you wait for winter to turn to spring and spring to turn to summer.
Potato Leek Soup

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  1. Chris made a very similar Potato Leek soup a few weeks ago, it was WONDERFUL

  2. As a culinary grad I have to say this sounds simple and yummie. But I have always done my soup with rendered bacon (freeze bacon and cut in to julienne strips or strips looking like match stick carrots) toss in the pot and render the fat (remove the crispy bacon and now you have a garnish!) then use that to soften the leeks. I like the idea of using white wine, I haven’t done that before so I will try it soon. Just another variation for the not so faint at heart.. Heavy cream brings out that smooth flavor but packs on the lbs. so go by the serving size to get added flavor but not so much added fat.. My favorite soup ever!

  3. Oh I forgot, instead of using water, I use home made veggie stock or any stock I have made from bones I had left over.. It last so long as you freeze it. AND you know what you’re putting in your food!! ENJOY

  4. Rebecca Clack says:

    Great recipe! I just found your site today when I was looking for a fajita suggestion. Then I spent the next two hours looking at your site (and sharing on Pinterest!) Great photos and simple recipe/meals! Best site I’ve seen in years!

  5. I bought leeks randomly at a farmers market this morning and i cant believe i found such a perfect recipe for them. thanks. i know whats for dinner tonight. tho, i like the bacon idea too. lol

  6. Excellent, excellent post. I just started receiving an organic box of goodies at my door–with leeks among other things I don’t know what to do with. Thanks so much for sharing! I’m gonna try the totally vegan version.

  7. Has anyone tried freezing this soup? If so, how does it fare?

  8. thank you! so nice to be able to make this delicious soup WITHOUT chicken stock! added a bit of grated cheddar and parsley to serve!

  9. Virginia Mancuso says:

    I made your potato and leek soup, and it was a hit with my family.
    Thank you so much.

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