Rustic Leek & Potato Soup for Winter

An easy potato leek soup recipe you can serve two ways; rustic, full of squares of diced potatoes or blended until it’s smooth and creamy.

I’ve been making one version or another of potato soup for my entire adult life (unless you count being 18 years old an adult, which you shouldn’t because 18 year olds think Glee is a really good television show.) That fact right there demonstrates better than anything how underdeveloped an 18 year old brain is.

I started out around 20 years ago making potato soup with some sort of recipe but that morphed into what I do today.

I normally make potato leek soup without a recipe.

There’s something very liberating about not using recipes.  About having the confidence to just grab your ingredients and start cooking. All of us have those recipes.  The ones we just know by heart or can just eyeball and taste test until they’re perfect.  

This potato soup can become one of those recipes for you, but I’ve also included ingredients and measurements for those of you who are just starting to learn to cook or who always like to have exact recipes.

It’s made up of three main ingredients:

Potatoes.            Leeks.            Chicken broth.

Say that over and over a few times and then we’ll continue. O.K.  Now that you know your basic ingredients … we’re ready to begin.    

The first thing you’re going to do is prep your leeks and wash, peel and dice your potatoes.


What kind of potatoes are best for soup?

For soup you want to use floury potatoes.  A potato that’s dry and fluffy like baking potatoes. Russet potatoes and Kennebecs are good choices.

You can also get away with a Yukon Gold which is an “in between” potato.  Not too dry and not too waxy.


A bundle of leeks and some garlic get cooked and reduced. What first looks like a massive amount of leeks will reduce themselves to a less shocking amount.

 

Before sautéing, leeks need to be prepped. There are a couple of ways to prep leeks. I use the first method in the video because frankly – I don’t feel like the second method works very well but I threw it in there for an option.

 

Throw in your diced potatoes and chicken (or vegetable) broth and you’ve got the start of a basic potato soup.

 

Once the leeks are soft, that’s when you add your drained cut up potatoes ( the smaller you cut them the better because they cook faster and have less of a chance to get gluey) and enough broth to cover the potatoes.

Cook until the potatoes are soft.  Don’t overcook them.  Overcooking can make potatoes (even floury ones) gluey.


This is where things start to get controversial.

Yeah. Soup controversy.

If you like a pureed soup the one and only way to get a perfectly smooth, blended, velvety potato soup is to press the potatoes through a food mill and then as though you were a French chef trying to get his 3rd Michelin star.

Pureeing potatoes any other way than with a food mill and/or chinois, you risk creating gluey potatoes. (a chinois is a cone shaped sieve you can press things like soups and sauces through to make them perfectly smooth)

That means if you are going to serve this soup in your French restaurant as you wait for your 3rd Michelin star you cannot use a potato masher, stick blender or regular blender to puree your soup.

The rest of us? We’re going to use a masher or blender. But we’re going to use them carefully.

RUSTIC

If you want your soup to be rustic then halfheartedly use a potato masher to squish about half of the pot of soup. This will turn the clear broth into a thick potatoey broth. And you’ll still have whole pieces of potato and leeks.

SMOOTH PUREE

Throw everything into a blender and starting at the lowest speed, blend. Increase the speed if things aren’t as smooth as you would like and blend for only a few more seconds.

If you blast the potatoes in the blender on high you’ll end up with glue soup. So go low and slow.

 

A potato ricer can also work for either the rustic soup (in place of the masher) and the pureed soup (in place of the blender)

Once the soup is blended, you can add the saffron including the liquid you steeped it in and stir.

Serve with garlic croutons.

Leek & Potato Soup

A potato soup recipe you can serve rustic or pureed.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Soup
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 109kcal
Author: Karen Bertelsen

Ingredients

  • 3 leeks sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1.5 lbs potatoes russet
  • 3 cups broth chicken or vegetable
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp thyme just a pinch if using dried thyme
  • pepper
  • 8 threads saffron or pinch of powdered
  • 1 bay leaf

Instructions

  • Wash and prep leeks. Peel and dice potatoes.
  • Add 2 tbsps butter to a pot at medium low. Add leeks and garlic to the pot and saute until soft.
  • Add diced potatoes, broth, salt and thyme to the pot and simmer until potatoes are tender but not overcooked.
  • Meanwhile, add 2 tablespoons of very hot water (I boil it and then let it cool for a couple of minutes) to the saffron in a heatproof bowl and allow it to steep for 15 minutes.
  • Once potatoes are cooked either puree the entire soup in a blender or mash/puree only half for a more rustic soup. If you are using a blender use it on the lowest speed possible to get a puree and for as short amount a time as possible. Blenders make potatoes gluey!
  • Stir steeped saffron (including the liquid) into the pot of prepared soup and serve with garlic croutons.

Notes

If your soup is too thick for your liking after blending, just stir in some more chicken broth, or milk until it’s the consistency you prefer.
As you can see even though it’s very hearty and filling, this is an incredibly low calorie soup so feel free to load up on garlic croutons, cheddar cheese, bacon or any other delicious toppings you’d like.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 109kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 1354mg | Potassium: 155mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1666IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 2mg

 

No Measure Leek & Potato Soup

To graduate to making this without a recipe, just know that you use equal weights of potatoes and leeks. So, 1.5 lbs of leeks and 1.5 lbs of potatoes. Then you need as much broth as it takes to just cover the ingredients and that’s it.

Notice that this soup is only about 100 calories a bowl. So feel FREE to load it up with toppings like garlic croutons, sour cream, bacon or cheddar cheese.

Whatever it takes to make you gleeful.

Rustic Leek & Potato Soup for Winter

50 Comments

  1. Dustin says:

    I like potato and this is a food related to it so i really like it too, the way is very simple i also tried it already

  2. Nan Aitel-Thompson says:

    I never used leeks before – looking for the video you reference as to how to prep them.
    I guess I’ll search the web but would like your instructions.

    • Nan Aitel-Thompson says:

      really good. I need to refresh my thyme and saffron. My neighbor added dill – she’s a great cook. Learned how to clean leeks online.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nan. The video on how to prep them is right in this post. Just about in the middle. If you aren’t seeing the video you probably have ads blocked, in which case you won’t see any of my videos. ~ karen!

  3. A ha haha ha ha! I have BOTH a chinois and a ricer. Finally I get to use them

  4. Donna says:

    I made this delicious soup this morning. Dirtied too many dishes by using my chinois first. That left all the goodness in the cone! So I brought out the food processor and slowly puréed the cone contents. Now it’s a hearty potato soup. I don’t have saffron in stock. Should I add it later or ignore it?

  5. Sandra Blackwell says:

    I have one of those cone shaped sieves. It was my momma’s. she used it for jams and such. I use it for apple sauce. She called it a prayer (not sure if that was the spelling, I only heard her say it). I love having kitchen utensils that were my moms, and my gramma’s, that I still use.

  6. Vikki says:

    I make this all the time and it’s always a hit. For the leeks, I always use Method #2–it cleans the best with the least amount of fuss. Since I’m not cooking for sophisticated palates, I skip the food mill or chinois and just mash away. (They like some potato chunks.) This is a great recipe and always “hits the spot” in cold weather.

  7. Mark says:

    Thanks for the recipe. I made this yesterday – it was very good. I used the boat motor instead of a blender though – very quick and thorough job and less cleanup.

  8. Kim McM says:

    Never mind, I looked at the other pictures more closely and can see now it’s a Staub. I want one!

  9. Kim McM says:

    Thanks for the recipe, it looks very tasty. I covet your blender, and also the pot that you are cooking your soup in. I tried to make out the words on the handle but was not able to. What kind of pot is it?

  10. Erica J. says:

    I bought myself a vitamix at Christmas (To:Me, Love:Me) and couldn’t be happier with my investment. I have made this soup a few times since you posted it and it gets better every time. I would love to hear about any other things you use it for.

    • Karen says:

      Erica – Every single day … smoothies. :) Also pulverizing parmesan cheese hunks on a regular basis and bread crumbs, and … maybe I’ll do a post. :) ~ karen

  11. Janelle says:

    Mine turned out gluey. I know I didn’t overcook the potations, but I may have blended them too much. I over-blended ’em. I (wait for it)…rectum.

  12. Paulina J! says:

    After 7 years of marriage my husband revealed that he hates potato soups, to the point where he is nauseou!?!!?!?!!!! I’ll have to make a mini version for myself.

    By the way, where do you buy your saffron? I can’t find it anywhere locally.

    • Karen says:

      Paulina J! – I either buy it at my grocery store (ask a clerk for where it is) or at The Bulk Barn where they usually have it at the cash in a little plastic container. ~ karen

  13. Angel says:

    Love the vitamix! I have a white one. It’s the BEST blender ever! xoxo

  14. Anemone says:

    Since everyone is using that word. Might as well. Couldn’t pass up the opportunity. This soup will be kind to your…well…uhh…rectum, I reckon.

  15. Bonnie says:

    I love the recipe and will have to try it. BUT, I have to say that people who plan menus for a whole week, like people who plan their wardrobe for the week, are a little admirable and a little strange…a bit anal retentive. No wonder you’re obsessed with the word rectum!

    • Karen says:

      Bonnie – Well, yeah I’m the first to admit I have a bit of OCD. Not anal retentive though. That’s an entirely different disorder. However, I don’t think planning a menu falls into the OCD or anal retentive category. It falls into the “it’s a great way to save money” and “it’s way faster to do it in advance than stand at the fridge every night thinking what the hell“. And there you have it. ~ karen

  16. Cindy says:

    Okay, first of all, great recipe. I’ve made this soup before and it’s amazing. But more importantly, the uvula/vulva comment. This makes me think of a time when I was teaching the reproduction unit to my middle schoolers (which by the way, I should win some award for doing this and surviving all the giggles and questions)and I said something about what a vulva is and a student yelled out, “Oh gross! My mom DRIVES a vulva!!!” After calming everyone down I told him that I was quite sure his mom probably drove a VOLVO and everything is going to be okay. :)

    • Kristin says:

      You DO deserve an award for that, Cindy! Middle schoolers are the stuff of nightmares–I have one in my house, so I know this stuff. Funny story, though!

  17. Heather says:

    Have to share my mixed up words story. When my brother had surgery on his uvula ( hangy down thing in the back of your throat) to stop the snoring, my dad told everyone that he had his son had surgery on his vulva. Yup… told EVERYBODY
    PS great soup!

    • Karen says:

      Heather – LOL … I *knew* where that was going as soon as I saw uvula … because I read it as vulva in my head! Love it. ~ karen

  18. Ange says:

    For some reason I always eye-ball when I cook, and measure obsessively when I bake. Baking feels more sciencey to me, plus you can’t really taste the dry ingredients in order to tell if you’ve added enough baking powder.

  19. denise says:

    I don’t remember tasting a leek…I’ll have to give it a try…thanks!

  20. Gayla T says:

    I got side tracked by Grebels that I forgot to tell you to beware of a man who will not share his blender. On the surface a small thing but there is a deep deep resentment, probably a remnant of the band aid fiasco. I reccomend couples therapy if I’m correct that you are not married. Men, can’t get along with them and you can’t get along without them. Well, actually you can but thaat bit of knowledge usually comes to you rather late in life as it did me.

  21. Gayla T says:

    Well, guess what’s for dinner tonight! My ancestry is Germans from Russian so we do potato soup well. Do you know about Grebels? Roll bread dough out thin, cut in 6 inch squares. Cut 2 or 3 slits in each being careful not to cut through the ends or you have skinny grebles. Let rise and fry in hot oil. You end up with this great fried bread with nice big bubbles that fill up when you dip them into the soup. There are a lot of recipes online and they are all very similar. Some people pull the dough up thru a slit but that’s a no/no in our family. I have been known to make them from frozen bread dough but if you tell anyone I said that I’ll deny it. LOL We do not puree our soup but lightly mash the potatoes just before serving so it is kind of chunky. That’s probably so it fills up the holes in the Grebels and stays there. Yummy stuff, rGebels!

  22. valerie says:

    rectum, it just about killed him

  23. Nancy says:

    I have been having a crazy love affair with soups this winter..can’t get enough of them..I am one of those cooks that rarely uses a recipe..Very frustrating when trying to teach my son how to make his favorites but I kinda like being that way..This soup looks creamy and yummy..I think I will have me a nice bowl of soup for lunch..Thanks Karen..

  24. Mary Werner says:

    My friend always confuses that word with retina. When coming back from the eye doctor she told us the doctor looked in her eyes and could see a torn rectum. We were amazed that the doctor could see all that way down and questioned her but she stuck to her guns saying yes the doctor could see very far inside using his special machine – she never realized what she had said or how funny it was nor knew why we kept asking her to tell it again. Thanks for reminding me of that funny memory.

    • ….Mary….that was seriously funny about your friend with the TORN RECTUM. I have tears in my eyes from laughing…and from cutting leeks for the soup. Thanks KAREN!!…my house smells ahhhmazing right now. Can’t wait to eat the soup. I will have to remember to NOT put it on my porch to cool this time. My dog Oliver is a bad bad dog. Ok, he is huge and adorable but not adorable when he eats our dinner. Just sayin’.
      Lynne xx

  25. Barbie says:

    Your my first LOL every morning! My husband always yells from the other room “what”? “what”???
    I just made Leek and Potato soup last week….I do love the addition of saffron….and I agree, I love it when you don’t need a recipe.
    I see you used your CROCK POT that you got for Christmas! errr umm let me rectum that… I mean COCK pot! ha ha ha ha ha….

  26. ev says:

    Gosh, tho this soup sounds great, I hope I don’t have to rectum mine! Going out to get some leeks today. Thanks Karen!

  27. Esther says:

    I especially like the possibility to “rectum” if necessary. Do you prefer a pig’s or chicken’s ?.

    (I know, darn corrector!) :)

  28. Tracie says:

    Hi Karen, your soup looks delicious! Is that some red pepper in there? I also love your salt and pepper thingies. For some reason when I make stock, it never has that beautiful golden colour. Time to try again, maybe scare the cold bugs away…I’ve never tried leeks either, but they look pretty tasty, and now that I know how to clean them, I have no excuse. :)

  29. Karena says:

    Karen this soup sounds so delish for this wintry weather!! The most important part…easy!!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

  30. gogothrift says:

    are you sure you didn’t share this recipe? I feel like I saw your leeks on a cutting board sometime last year……

  31. I’m going to try this tonight! Every attempt I have ever made ended with grey, gluey soup. But yours is so pale and lovely looking, mmmm, I want.

  32. Valentina says:

    I had a very similar soup just last night. 3 large potatoes, 1 leek, vegetable broth, saffron and a touch of truffle. Awesome :)
    (After you, I started planning & publishing my weekly menus, too. You are such an inspiration Karen!)

  33. Caro says:

    I wish all of my mistakes were easy to rectum.

  34. itchbay says:

    I love potato-leek soup! The saffron is a nice touch!

    I rarely use the measurements in recipes, except when I think the ratios are important. I think of recipes as general guidelines, or inspiration.

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