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A Modest Lunch: Leek and Potato Soup

Leek and Potato Soup

In my family, we don’t really do lunch on the weekends. Maybe I should rephrase that: we eat, but we don’t do large, elaborate lunches. While some families might sit down to pastas, gratins, breads and salads at midday, mine tends to favour nothing more taxing than a grilled sandwich, and more likely a mug of soup.

My mum makes wonderful soups, and always freezes and stores her creations. At any given time, there are probably two or three delicious and healthy homemade soups in my parents’ deep-freeze. When I’m home for a visit, I know that a good modest (okay, frugal) lunch is just steps and minutes away.

When he first started spending holidays with my family, it took my boyfriend some time to adjust to this habit of ours. Andrew’s not really a soup fan, preferring heartier, more filling meals in general. Slowly though, he’s come around to soup, at least as a form of midday nourishment (I have yet to convince him of its dinnertime charms).

Lately, I’ve been trying to introduce these weekend soup-eating practices to our London home, making Sunday “Soup Day”. Often it’s carrot or lentil, sometimes tomato, but yesterday, after returning from the farmers market with some new season bounty, I thought I’d try my hand at the old peasant classic: Leek and Potato.

(OT, but this is one soup I definitely wouldn’t be served at home; my mum loathes potatoes. I’ve never really understood this dislike, because potatoes are just about the most inoffensive vegetable I can think of. To each her own, though.)

My version of this soup, with smoked paprika and sour cream, has just enough kick to keep it interesting without overpowering the subtle flavour of the leeks. Served with whole wheat toast and a dollop of sour cream on top, it was good enough for Andrew to proclaim it “amazing”. Of course, this was during daylight hours; if you’re planning this for dinner, proceed with caution.

Leek and Potato Soup

  • Leek and Potato Soup
  • serves 4
  • 2 Tbs. butter
    1 clove garlic, minced
    3 medium leeks, chopped, white and light green parts only
    1 tsp. sea salt
    black pepper
    3 medium potatoes (or 2 very large), peeled and cut into 1″ chunks
    1/2 tsp. paprika (if you can get the smoked kind, it’s good here)
    1 litre vegetable stock
    1/2 cup sour cream
    1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1. Heat the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. When it foams, add the garlic and chopped leeks, sprinkle over the salt and grind in some fresh black pepper. Cook gently until the leeks have softened but not browned, about 4 minutes.

    2. Stir in the chopped potatoes and the paprika, and cook for another two minutes. Pour over the stock and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.

    3. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Using an immersion blender, purée until smooth.

    4. Stir in the sour cream and if using, the cayenne. Re-heat gently if necessary.


  1. MH says:

    mmm I love leek and potato soup. My favorite is the cold french Vichyssoise version that the Debster would always make.

  2. Dana says:

    I find soup so difficult to photograph well. Your shot is so beautiful! We have gotten into the (bad) habit of eating lunch out every weekend because we are on some kind of outing with our boys. It is invariably a) not good and b) expensive. What I wouldn’t give for a large mug of your soup!

  3. Ele says:

    MH- That is so you, Vichyssoise indeed! :) I’m not generally a fan of cold soups, but I’d be willing to try Debbie’s!

    Dana- You are SO right. Soups, especially puréed ones, are very difficult to photograph, they always look so boring and flat!

    I feel the same way about eating out most of the time. The trouble with being an avid cook is that you start to pick apart any restaurant meal you have, thinking “I could do this better/cheaper”.

  4. Hilary says:

    Edward thinks our family’s lunchtime habits are utterly bizarre. He STILL asks me on weekends, “What’s for lunch, hon?” Umm, nothing. You’re on your own, buddy. Go get a tin of Libby’s baked beans out of the pantry ;)

    Do you think Mum and Dad fed us lunch when we were little? I’m assuming they didn’t let toddlers go hungry all day!

  5. Chris says:

    mmmm that looks really good.. Now I’m too hungry to concentrate on work.. Must find food… (Too bad it won’t be nearly as good as that soup..)

  6. Larissa says:

    Great picture….as usual. I have never made potato/leek soup, I have started one many times but it always turns into something orange, or green, or red with more spice. I need to try and simplify and stick to a recipe, I will give this a shot, getting a little chilly here these days.

  7. Ele says:

    Chris- Thanks, hope you found something nice for lunch!

    Larissa- There’s nothing wrong with being creative. I might have added stuff to this to make it a bit more interesting, but I only had the leeks and potatoes!

  8. Brendan says:

    Another wonderfully delicious and wonderfully simply recipe. Thank you, thank you!