Potato & Leek Soup
Warm, soul-satisfying, velvety and delicious! The creamy Potato & Leek soup is all that… and more! This soup is had hot in Britain, though the French version (Vichyssoise), credited to Chef Louis, is served cold. According to the information on the net, the origin of the soup is still embroiled in debate. The French claim it as theirs, the British insist they invented it and the Americans make the same claim. I really don’t care where it originated because as a home cook what truly interested me were the smiles on the face of Grumpy and Anu when I put this in front of them. Grumpy went on to grumpily ask for a second helping (I’m beginning to believe in miracles :P ). My all time favorite soup, since the age of four, has been Sweet Corn Chicken soup. Well, guess what?? Not any more!!
½ cup + ½ tablespoon butter
3 leeks, light green and white part only
4 medium-sized or 2 cups potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup cream, very gently whisked to a smooth texture (I used Amul)
450 mils hot chicken stock
200 mils milk, or as needed
Salt, to taste
¾ teaspoon freshly milled black pepper
1 teaspoon white pepper powder, or to taste
2 rashers chicken bacon, cut into tiny ¼ inch pieces
1 chive, finely chopped for garnish
- Peel the potatoes. Wash and cube them into one inch pieces. Soak the potato cubes in water. Keep aside.
- Trim off the dark leaves of the leek. Use only the very light green and white part of the leek. Horizontally, slice the leek in half and then chop it finely. Discard the root.
- Add the leeks to a bowlful of cold water and
with your fingers separate the leeks so that the dirt and grime fall off
and settle at the bottom of the bowl.
- Gently lift the leeks from the cold water and
give them a rinse or two in a sieve to wash out any excess dirt. Keep
- Heat ½ tablespoon butter in a pan and fry the chicken
bacon till crisp. When done, drain the chicken bacon on a paper towel.
- Add ½ cup butter to the butter in which the chicken bacon had been fried.
- When the butter melts, add the chopped and
washed leeks and cook for about 10-12 minutes until the leeks soften.
- Drain the potatoes from the water. Add
the cubed potatoes, salt and pepper to taste and give it a good stir.
- Turn down the heat to low. Place a cartouche (round
greaseproof paper) over the potatoes to ensure the steam stays in.
- Cover the pan with a lid and allow the potatoes to cook for about 8 minutes or until they are cooked. They should at this point be cooked through but not mushy.
- Uncover the pan, discard the cartouche.
- Add the hot chicken broth and continue to simmer
the broth for 5 minutes.
- Take the pan off the hob, allow the soup to cool for 10 to 15 minutes and then grind it in blender, in batches, until smooth. If needed, use some of the milk to blend it smooth if the mixture is too thick.
- Empty out the smoothly blended soup into a clean pan. Add the smoothened cream. Mix well.
- Put the vessel back on the stove and simmer on very low heat, stirring all the time.
- Add the remaining milk to adjust the consistency. Feel free to use a bit more or less to adjust the consistency. (For consistency details please check Chef Notes)
- Add salt, check seasoning and adjust as needed.
- Simmer on very low heat, stirring all the time, till soup reheats.
- Remove the soup into individual soup bowls,
garnish with crisp chicken bacon and a pinch of chives. Serve hot with
soup sticks or warm crusty bread.
- The consistency of this soup is thick but not gluggy or blobby. It should be just thick enough to smoothly coat the back of a spoon.
- Leeks belong to the onion family but they take longer to soften than regular onions or spring onions so ensure that you cook them until they are soft and cooked through.
- I used chicken stock and chicken bacon because I’m a non-vegetarian but feel free to use vegetable stock and omit the use of chicken bacon if you wish to make a vegetarian version of the soup.
- If you need to go low-cal with this soup, feel free to reduce the quantity of the butter. Some people opt for milk with just a tablespoon of cream. I refuse to do that because I know it will adversely affect the creamy texture and taste which is the heart and soul of this soup.
- Please do your best to use freshly milled pepper as that truly enhances the flavor of the soup. (Okay, at the cost of sounding very vain, i admit, I love my Peugeot pepper mill ;) )
- If you choose to use regular bacon instead of chicken bacon you won’t need ½ tablespoon of butter to crisp it. The fat released from the bacon will work to crisp it up.
- I retained a wee bit of the soup and refrigerated it for six hours and tried it cold because I wanted to try the Vichyssoise version of it. It was just as creamy and delicious but, I have to honestly admit, I preferred it hot.
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