Potato Leek Soup Recipe | 45-sec video
This time of year, local farmers’ markets are filled to the brim with the vibrant colors of fall. Pumpkins, apples and winter squash dominate the scene with their rich warm hues and bright pops of color, but venture a little deeper, and you will discover the subtle shades of fall potatoes.
Deep blues and purples, rosy reds and soft buttery yellows – nowadays, there are hundreds of different kinds in all shapes and sizes – and the farmers’ market is a great place to find these unique varieties.
Starchy potatoes, like russet potatoes, are very low in moisture. When cooked, their cells separate, becoming airy, light and fluffy. They absorb whatever you pair with them – ideal for buttery fluffy mashed potatoes or baked potatoes. Their low moisture content, and high absorption makes them ideal for frying, perfect for french fries or potato pancakes. But these high starch potatoes can also too easily absorb water, so they fall apart when boiled, making them not the best choice for salads.
Conversely, waxy potatoes, including red potatoes, fingerlings, most new potatoes, and some blue potatoes, are low in starch with flesh that is characteristically creamy, firm and moist that holds its shape well after cooking. They’re typically great for roasting in the oven, blanching, pureed in soups and baked in casseroles. Because they have a more cohesive cell structure and don’t get overly mushy, they are an ideal candidate for potato salads.
All-purpose potatoes have a medium starch content falling somewhere in between the starchy and waxy potatoes. They’re a true multi-purpose potato, and can be used in just about any cooking application. The most popular example is the Yukon Gold potato. Other varieties include, yellow fins, and some purple and white potatoes. They’re moister than high-starch potatoes yet hold their shape a bit better.
- 2–3 Large leeks -1 ½ inch -2 inches in diameter ( 5 -6cups) Or sub 2 large white onions.
- 4 tablespoons olive oil,butter or ghee)
- 4–6 cloves garlic, rough chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme (or substitute sage, or 1 tsp dry thyme or herbs de Provence)
- 1 1/2 pounds yukon gold potatoes- thinly sliced. (the thinner, the faster they will cook!) or use any thin-skinned potato- red, fingerling, most little potatoes with thin skins.
- 6 cups veggie broth or chicken stock
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, more to taste
- ½ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
- ½– 1 cup sour cream ( or see notes for vegan)
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives ( or scallions) for garnish
Optional – Leek oil for drizzling! (make with the green tops of leeks!)
- Cut leeks in half lengthwise and slice leeks into ¼-inch thick slices. Rinse under running water to removed dirt and sediment. ( The water will help soften the leeks as well.) Heat oil in heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven, over medium heat. Add rinsed leeks and sauté until tender, golden and fragrant, 8-10 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and sauté for 2-3 more minutes.
- Add potatoes, stock, salt, pepper and fresh thyme. Bring to a boil, turn heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are fork-tender.
- Make the optional leek oil.
- When the potatoes are tender, use an immersion blender and blend the soup until smooth- or blend in batches in a regular, until very smooth and silky (remember, you don’t want to fill up a blender with hot liquid, or you will have a soup explosion- so blend in small batches, less than half full, holding the lid down firmly covered with a kitchen towel. )
- Return the silky smooth soup to the pot, bring to a simmer over low heat, and stir in the sour cream. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.
- To serve, divide among bowls, drizzle with the leek oil, sprinkle with fresh chives or scallions.
To make this vegan, add a 1/2- 3/4 cup raw cashews to the simmering potatoes and leeks, and let them get soft. Blend the soup as smooth as you can get it. Place back in the pot. Add a very tiny splash of vinegar or lemon juice ( 1/4 teaspoon) and stir in a teaspoon or two of nutritional yeast to taste if you like. Adjust salt and pepper.
Sometimes I’ll add a couple of handfuls of baby spinach right at the end, and blend this in- to give a beautiful greenish hue plus extra nutrients!
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