Potato Leek Soup with Thyme

October 24, 2017

I haven't posted a new recipe in quite awhile.  I've been writing about the best ice cream in the Twin Cities, Norway, and the highlights of my summer, and cooking farro stuffed squash from 2016 and the quinoa with sweet potatoes and spinach from 2013.  I've been roasting lots of potatoes, sweet potatoes, and cauliflower, and eating them with couscous and barley.  So there has been plenty of writing, and plenty of cooking, but not much to report in the way of culinary innovation. 

Until this potato leek soup.  I already had a perfectly serviceable recipe for potato leek soup, adapted from the great Mollie Katzen, no less.  But when faced with a couple leeks and bag of potatoes in one of our final CSA boxes, I wanted to try something different.  A friend recommended a potato leek soup from Simply Recipes; at first glance, it's not all that different from my Mollie Katzen version.  However, there are a few subtle differences: you sauté the leeks in butter instead of olive oil, and you season the soup with a bay leaf, thyme, and marjoram.  The resulting soup is very thick and creamy, especially if you use yellow potatoes like Yukon Golds.  The herbs—I think the thyme in particular—add a bright warmth and make the soup taste much more complicated than it actually is.   

I didn't peel my potatoes, mostly due to laziness but also because I think the skins add a nice bit of extra texture.  You can certainly peel the potatoes if desired.  Also, I used chicken broth base, but feel free to substitute 4 cups of pre-prepared chicken or vegetable broth.  Finally, I've found that this soup freezes and reheats quite excellently.

Adapted from Simply Recipes

Serves 4 generously

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 medium leeks, trimmed, halved, and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 4 teaspoons chicken or vegetable broth base
  • 6 cups chopped Yukon Gold potatoes (1/2 inch pieces)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • pinch marjoram
  • pepper to taste

Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add leeks, stir to coat evenly with butter, and cover.  Reduce heat to low and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.

Whisk broth base into 4 cups boiling water.

Add prepared broth, potatoes, bay leaf, salt, thyme, and marjoram to Dutch oven and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer until potatoes are softened, about 15 minutes.

Puree soup in batches in blender until smooth.  Return to Dutch oven and season with salt and pepper to taste.

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