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Valentines Day – The Basics: First Course – Part 1 Leek And Potato Soup And Variations

Leek, potato and watercress soup

Leek, potato and watercress soup

With Valentines Day fast approaching I decided to  break the meal into separate posts,  3 recipes, first course, entree and dessert. Two of the recipes will be in line with my basics posts. The first is from Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom.

Julia Child calls this a primal soup, a basic soup that is uncomplicated and adapted into many variations. Leek and Potato soup is your most basic soup, it is elegant and delicious and wildly popular for many years. This recipe has withstood the test of time and has many variations. I am making the basic soup and adding watercress, this adds a little green, a peppery bite and if you are a fan of watercress you will love it. I made it exactly as written, you can add a little butter if you wish while pureeing. It’s delicious as is and is vegan friendly by simply omitting the sour cream or creme fraiche garnish.

The Basic Recipe for Leek and potato soup:

Makes 2 quarts or approximately 6 servings

3 cups sliced leeks, the white and tender green parts, cleaned thoroughly to remove any sand and grit.

3 cups peeled and roughly chopped “baking” potatoes (I used russet)

6 cups water

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a 3 quart saucepan. Cover and simmer 20-30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Adjust seasoning. Puree and serve with a dollop of the sour cream or creme fraiche.

Variations:

Onion and Potato – substitute onion for the leeks

Cream of leek and potato soup – After you puree whisk in 1/2 cup heavy cream

Watercress: Add a bunch of watercress during the last 5 minutes of simmering, Serve with a scattering of fresh watercress.

Cold Soup – Vichyssoise- puree any of the above, add 1/2 cup heavy cream and serve chilled. Top each bowl with minced fresh chives, parsley or watercress leaves.

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42 Comments Post a comment
  1. I have a batch in my fridge right now, our absolute favorite soup in the world. And it freezes well, so I always make a big batch, even for the two of us. Love the watercress tip!

    February 11, 2014
    • It is the most simple and basic soup and I love also, it really does freeze so well and takes almost no time at all to make. Thanks so much.

      February 11, 2014
  2. Bevi #

    I love watercress! This will be great to make with the winter not yet halfway through for me.

    February 11, 2014
    • The watercress is a great addition to the soup, I really liked it. I have always been a big fan of watercress. Thanks Bevi!

      February 11, 2014
  3. We’re having leek and potato soup tonight! Wish I’d seen this earlier though, because I love the addition of watercress – a beautiful peppery addition…

    February 11, 2014
    • I love the addition of watercress, have never done that before and it’s so good I think from now on it will be standard. Thanks so much.

      February 11, 2014
  4. Absolutely comforting! Love the watercress on top!

    February 11, 2014
  5. Oddly enough I have both leeks AND potatoes in my kitchen right now! And this seems easy enough for me to handle. Thanks!

    February 11, 2014
  6. I love this Suzanne! My kind of soup. And looks easy enough to make while preparing a main course. Thank you for the idea. :)

    February 11, 2014
    • Exaclty, the soup keeps well in the refrigerator and freezer also. Thanks so much.

      February 11, 2014
  7. shashi @ http://runninsrilankan.com #

    Suzanne – this 5 ingredient soup sounds fantastic!

    February 11, 2014
  8. This looks bowl-licking delicious. Such an elegant photo with fine details of the spoon & garnish and the beautiful lighting you’ve captured! I have never tried this soup, but the way you’ve presented it, I know I need to make this soon. I love a peppery bite too, so I will do it exactly as you created, with the addition of watercress. Can’t wait to try! xo -Laura

    February 11, 2014
    • It is such a simple soup, you have to try it. It can come together so quickly and it really is so elegant and delicious. Thank you so much.

      February 11, 2014
  9. talkavino #

    Beautiful , Suzanne – my plan is to start the Valentine’s meal with roasted pepper pureed soup, quite along the lines of yours : ) Can’t wait for your second course : )

    February 11, 2014
    • Oh that sounds wonderfiul, I love roasted peppers and have never had as a soup. Thanks Anatoli!

      February 11, 2014
  10. This soup looks great and I love the rich color that shines through it!

    February 11, 2014
  11. Love leek & potato soup. I use Yukon gold potatoes and saute the leeks in olive oil first. It’s so rich and delicious, you’d think there was a pint of cream in there, but it’s all the potatoes!

    February 11, 2014
    • I really like that you saute the leeks first, I much prefer to yukon gold to russet too. Next time I am going to try it your way, thank you!

      February 11, 2014
  12. Fabulous post Suzanne! Love the tip of making this ahead of time and refrigerating or freezing it! This is one of my favourite soups, but will have to try adding the watercress for that extra complexity of pepperiness!

    February 11, 2014
    • Yes that is exactly what I did today, straight to the freezer. The watercress really makes this soup special. Thanks so much!

      February 11, 2014
  13. Liz #

    great idea for the Valentine’s Trilogy :-) Lovely soup indeed! Looking forward to the next courses already.

    February 11, 2014
    • Thank you so much, I just love preparing a menu for a holiday, and Valentines Day is so much fun.

      February 11, 2014
  14. 5 ingredients but so delicious! Simple and wonderful :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    February 12, 2014
  15. Leek adds so much taste to every soup. In this case, combination of potato and addition of cream makes this simple soup decadent. Is the vivid green color from the watercress?

    February 12, 2014
    • Thanks so much Fae, yes the vivid green is from the watercress. I used a handful and it brought the color of the soup to life.

      February 12, 2014
  16. I love the sweetness leeks add to a dish! This is a beautiful soup for Valentine’s!

    February 12, 2014
    • Yes I totally agree, Leeks are so delicious in soups, they bring a lovely subtle flavor, I love using them. Thank you so much!

      February 12, 2014
  17. This looks delicious and simple- perfect for the upcoming snowstorm this week. (I’ve lost count of how many we’ve had this season- oy!) I’ve never actually cooked with leeks before. It’s one of those greens that never make it into my cart but I’m always thinking, I should really try this one day. This is a great opportunity!

    February 12, 2014
    • I love leeks but word of warning you have to clean them really well, they are loaded with sand and grit. I trim off the tops and root and slice into rings and add to a big bowl of water, separate the rings and let it sit, sand will fall to the bottom of the bowl of water. Scoop out the leeks and wash again. I do it 3 times to make sure there is not one grain of sand. You will be rewarded for your effort, they really are wonderful. Thank you so much.

      February 12, 2014
      • Thanks for the tip! I’ve heard they can be filled with sand, but your advice will definitely come in handy. Question- can the potatoes be switched to another varierty, like yukon? I’m wondering if a creamier variety would affect the soup or not.

        February 12, 2014
      • Yes absolutely use Yukon Gold, as a matter of fact that is what would be my first choice. I used russet because I stuck to the recipe as written and Julia called for baking potatoes which are russet but I always use yukon they are the best. Hope you like. You can tweak to suite your taste.

        February 12, 2014
  18. What a beautiful photo! Love the styling! And the soup looks absolutely delicious and just perfect for this season. YUM!

    February 12, 2014
    • Thanks so much Azita, the soup is so beautiful it really steals the show, thanks so much.

      February 12, 2014
  19. Looks so delicious Suzanne and SO simple, which I love! I could easily add cashew cream and make it vegan. I love simple soups like this and love the color too!

    February 12, 2014
    • Oh I think cashew cream would be delicious in this soup. The color is lovely, the watercress really amped up the green! Thanks Brandi.

      February 12, 2014
  20. Absolutely love potato and leek soup! The perfect first course! :-)
    Jessica

    February 13, 2014

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