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Leek and Potato Soup (Soupe aux poireaux)

Dear Readers, immediately after I rejoiced blantantly to all that Spring is finally here in my post last Friday, winter slapped me hard on my face the next day with freezing cold below zero temperatures. As if that was not enough, winter threw in some snow on us last Sunday, as if to make sure that we understood that it was here to stay for a while longer and to stop dreaming about spring. Since last Sunday, the temperature stayed -3°C with snow fall now and then. On such cold days, the best way to warm ourselves up is to cook a pot of spicy hot curry like chicken curry or mutton curry or soup like tomato or leek & potato.

Leek & Potato Soup is one of the greatest classics of French homemade soups. I can easily understand why, for it is not only delicious, aromatic, nutritious but also inexpensive and filling. Leeks belongs to a vegetable family called the Allium vegetables like garlic and onions. Leeks are a very good source of manganese, vitamin C, iron, folate and vitamin B6.

How to choose Leeks?

Choose leeks that are firm, straight with dark green leaves and white necks. It should not be yellowed or wilted, nor have bulbs that have cracks or bruises. Buy only leeks with a diameter of 1 1/2 inch or less, as large leeks are generally more fibrous in texture. Store fresh leeks unwashed and untrimmed in the refrigerator in a loosely wrapped plastic bag : this will help to retain moisture and keep them fresh for 1 - 2 weeks. Cooked leeks will only stay fresh in the refrigerator for about 2 days.

Here's the simple version of the Leek & Potato soup that my mom-in-law and sis-in-law often cook at home. Hope you will like it as well. Enjoy!

Leek & Potato Soup (Soupe aux poireaux)
  • 1 big onion (chopped)
  • 4 leeks (washed and chopped)
  • 2 potatoes (peeled & diced)
  • 1 litre water or chicken stock (approx.)
  • salt & pepper
  • sour cream or crème fraîche or milk (optional - for serving)
  1. Trim the leeks and remove the top tough green leaves, leaving on the tender green parts. Slice each leek longwise twice (like a cross), wash it and chop the leeks from top to bottom.
  2. Heat a pot with some olive oil. When oil is hot, add in the chopped onions. Stir-fry it till fragrant & translucent.
  3. Add the chopped leeks and potatoes to the pot. Stir-fry the leeks until it is soft.
  4. Add in the water or chicken stock to the pot and bring it to a boil.
  5. Season it with salt & pepper. Lower the heat and let it simmer covered for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked.
  6. Purée the soup using stick blender. Taste, adjust the seasoning accordingly.
  7. Serve hot plain or with a spoonful of crème fraîche or a bit of milk.
The Verdict

This soup is simply delicious - creamy, full of flavour and tasty. Little One loves this soup, even Pierre who dislikes leeks likes it. It's an all occasion soup: as comfort soup or under the weather or just to warm us up on a cold day. It's simple, quick & easy to make and healthy too.

Leeks and potato soup

The above recipe is the base. You can add other herbs to it or any other ingredients like bacons, mushrooms, chicken or fish, etc if you want. You can also freeze the soup but it must not have milk or cream in it.

Leeks and potato soup
#1, by Asha@FSK (03/13/2010)

YAY!! you are back!!!:-))) Missed ya!

#2, by Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) (03/14/2010)

This is one of my all-time favorite soups. I love it hot or cold. Usually without cream, because the soup is plenty rich for me on its own.

#3, by Lyndsey (03/14/2010)

I love leeks and use them n soups quite often. Your simple soup looks wonderful. Perfect for a nice chilly night!

#4, by The Cooking Ninja (03/14/2010)

@Asha@FSK: Miss you too. Have a great trip to Australia. Things are a bit difficult for me right now that my laptop died on me as all the info and photos are in there.:-( Will try to catch up with you soon whenever I can.

@Lydia (The Perfect Pantry): Oh yes this soup is very rich and delicious. I like mine hot with or without cream or milk.:-)

@Lyndsy: I only started liking the taste of leeks in my 20s. It just happened one day like that - very strange.:-)

#5, by tigerfish (03/15/2010)

Oops, sudden change in temperature :O

I would like to try adding leeks in soup one day but rinsing and cleaning them seems such a chore.

#6, by The Cooking Ninja (03/15/2010)

@tigerfish: It won't be that difficult to clean if you sliced it criss-cross in length. (it opens it up for easy rinsing.):-)

#7, by Daily Spud (03/15/2010)

That is one of my all time favourite soups and one I'll be making again soon if this cursed weather doesn't get a move on and warm up!

#8, by Sarah, Maison Cupcake (03/15/2010)

I've just been reading about leek and potato soup in my mini version of Julia Child MTAOFC that came free with my Julie & Julia dvd. Yours looks great and I can't believe how tidy that swirled cream looks. Mine would be a right mess.

#9, by catty (03/15/2010)

I have to say, I think leeks are one of the most under-rated vegetables out there. I love the taste, I love the texture and even in a stirfry with chicken, they are delicious! By the way, thanks for the link through to your mutton curry post, gosh that really brings back the memories from home!

#10, by Jeanne @ Cooksister! (03/15/2010)

Touch wood - so far our spring weather is lasting... It only has to last till the end of the week when I fly home to South Africa for a holiday;-) Leek and potato soup is just the best winter warmer - I also add some cheese sometimes for extra indulgence. Yum!

#11, by Ching (03/15/2010)

Nice! I would love this soup. I haven't got the courage to buy leek yet because I am afraid my family won't like it and I will be the only one eating all of it.

#12, by The Cooking Ninja (03/17/2010)

@DailySpud: Hope the weather over your side is warming up now. Over my side it's still slightly cold but not below zero anymore. That's a relief!

@Sarah, Maison Cupcake: This soup is delicious! LOL! I didn't get the swirl perfectly right. It got messed up a bit and I had to think for a second or two how to make it look alright.

@Catty: You're welcome. Oh yes the taste is simply delicious especially with fish.:-)

@Jeanne@Cooksister!: Have a wonderful vacation in SA! Oh yes, sometimes we add some grated cheese to it just for extra indulgence.

@Ching: Try it. Actually the leeks sold here isn't as overpowering as those sold in Asia. I don't know if there is any difference from those in S'pore/M'sia or not, but I find that the European leeks are very mild in flavour compared to the Asian ones.

#13, by Alisa-Foodista (03/26/2010)

I love your post and your tip on choosing leeks. If you won't mind, I'd really love to guide foodista readers to your site. Just add your choice of Foodista widget at the end of this blog post and you're all set. Thanks!