This soup recipe is a silky smooth puree of potatoes and leeks in chicken broth with a hint of fresh tarragon. Similar to Vichyssoise, Potato Leek Soup is simple and smooth but contains no cream or thickeners.
The flavour of Potato Leek Soup is quite gentle. And also the colour. Since it’s made with potatoes and the mostly white part of leeks, the only colour is from the chicken broth. Fresh tarragon goes well in this soup and also adds a bright colour contrast. Save some for garnish too. Dried tarragon is fine too, just add some parsley for the fresh element.Jump to Recipe
Leeks are like a milder onion with a slight garlic flavour. In fact, the leek is a close relative of elephant garlic. Because they grow in layers, it’s important to wash leeks very well to make sure there’s no sand left behind. The best way to clean a leek is to peel off a few of the outside layers, especially if they are dark green, then slice in half lengthwise so you can “fan” the layers under running water.
Use only the white and very light green parts of the leek. As it gets darker, the texture becomes woody. In fact, the fibre strands in leeks run lengthwise so even the tender parts need to be sliced crosswise. Since you’ve cut them lengthwise, lay the leeks flat side down and slice into thin half circles.
How to make Potato Leek Soup
Soften the leeks in some olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Once they’re softened, peel and cube the potatoes and add to the pot along with your broth, white wine and a bay leaf. Depending on the sodium level of the broth, you may need to add salt. Potatoes do tend to absorb a lot of salt so, as I always say, taste and season as you go. And save the pepper for garnish, or, use white pepper if you have any.
The white wine adds a splash of acidity that freshens the flavour of the soup. Normally when cooking with alcohol, most of it cooks off from longer cooking time or higher heat, but in this case it’s not cooking long enough for most of the alcohol to be gone so leave it out if you wish.
Once the potatoes are soft, let the soup cool slightly, then purée well, until it’s silky smooth. An immersion blender is the easiest way to puree a soup but you can also use a blender.
Reheat Potato Leek Soup if necessary before serving and garnish with some extra tarragon or parsley and fresh cracked black pepper if you like. I like to serve soup with homemade bread like Olive and Onion Bread or New York Times No Knead Bread.
Here’s the recipe:
Potato Leek Soup
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups sliced leeks, 1-2 leeks depending on size
- 2 ½ cups peeled and diced potatoes, about 3 medium
- 4 cups chicken broth or a 900 ml carton
- 1/3 cup dry white wine or vermouth optional
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp fresh tarragon or ½ tsp dried
- salt to taste amount depends on sodium level of chicken broth
- cracked black pepper
- fresh chopped parsley and/or tarragon
- Clean and slice leeks. Add to pot with olive oil and sauté for about 10 minutes until soft.
- Peel and dice potatoes. Add to pot along with broth, wine, bay leaf and tarragon.
- Simmer for 20 minutes until potatoes are fork tender. Taste and season with salt if required.
- Remove bay leaf and purée mixture until silky smooth.
- Garnish as desired and add fresh cracked black pepper before serving.