I can't believe that I'm going to admit this, but this soup was the first time that I cooked with leeks. I know, I know - for shame! I don't know why I hadn't cooked with them before. I just...hadn't. But that is amended now and of course, leeks are delicious. And the perfect combination with potato for a soup.
Potato leek soup is nothing new and most people have probably made this soup, or at the very least, some variation of it, before. I do love a good potato soup on a cold day and this one did not disappoint. My mother-in-law gave me a new (signed!) cookbook for Christmas, Comfortable in the Kitchen, and I am in love with it. The recipes span from simple to complex, with tips along the way. It's my new favorite cookbook and our whole weekly menu came from this great new beauty.
The recipe calls for the soup to be blended until smooth at the end of the cooking time, but I left a few potato pieces for texture. Otherwise, this is a smooth, velvety soup that is delicious on its own or with cheese, bacon, green onions...the list goes on.
Potato Leek Soup
adapted from Comfortable in the Kitchen by Meredith Laurence
3 tbsp. butter, divided
1 tbsp. olive oil
4 leeks, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
3 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme (more or less to taste)
6-8 baking potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes (8-9 cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
4 cups chicken stock
water as needed
1/2 cup heavy cream
Toppings: shredded cheddar, green onions, croutons, bacon...
1. In a Dutch oven or other large pot, melt 2 tbsp. butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add leeks and cook until tender, about 8 minutes.
2. Add thyme and potatoes and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir until fragrant.
3. Add chicken stock and then add water to cover the potatoes. Cover and reduce heat, bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat, uncover and simmer until potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes.
4. Remove thyme sprigs, if using. Ladle out most of the remaining liquid and reserve liquid.
5. Using an immersion blender, food processor, or blender, puree until smooth or to desired consistency. Add reserved liquid in order to reach desired soup consistency, based on how thin or thick you want the soup. Stir in cream, remaining tablespoon of butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top as desired.