When it comes to potato leek soup, I am a purist. Fewer is better, as far the ingredients go. And the less fuss the better. Who needs to muss up the blender or food processor, when a piping hot bowl full of hearty hunks of potatoes and leeks is so satisfyingly rustic?
Of course, that doesn't mean that's your preference for soupe aux poireaux. And that is indeed the beauty of this potato and leek soup recipe. It is exceptionally customizable. Feel free to purée, and why not throw caution to the wind and serve this puréed and chilled.
I've come to think of this recipe as a family heirloom, but that isn't exactly correct. We've eaten many pots of this soup in my family. So it seems like my mom's recipe, but it comes -- along with many other family classics -- from the New York Times International Cook Book.
I took this recipe in a notebook of other photocopied hits with me to college. This potato and leek soup along with a terrific tomato soup from the same book were two of the first dishes in my measly 18-year-old repertoire. I made it again last night for the whole family, Fe. included, and it is still something of a show-stopper.
I highly recommend a double recipe.
This simple yet decadent soup cannot be part of our regular rotation, because it is full of cream and butter. Full. But on a cold and stormy first day of spring, it was really quite perfect.
I'm not kidding about the simplicity. Anyone can make this potato and leek soup. Chop the leeks and onions. Sauté in butter. Toss in the potatoes and chicken stock. Simmer. Add a generous quantity of cream. Salt and pepper. Garnish with chives. Slurp embarrassingly.
See. You can do it in your sleep!
Potato and Leek Soup
2 large leeks
1 medium onion, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chopped chives (optional)
Trim the root end of the leeks, then cut off and discard approximately half of the green stems. Slit the leeks several times lengthwise from the stem and rinse well under cold water. Leeks can be very dirty! Chop the leeks and cook them with the onion in the butter. Cook for three minutes, stirring.
Add the potaoes and stock and bring to a boil. Simmer about fifteen minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Add the cream and bring just to a boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve hot with chopped chives.