While we were in London, we had the pleasure of dining at a family friend’s home. She made a wonderful meal for us. We started with bubbly (of course!) and caviar, and then moved to the dining room for our first course, leek and potato soup. It was delicious! We were all raving about it as our hostess Hilary kept insisting how simple it was to make. When we returned home we couldn’t stop thinking about that soup so we decided to try to make it ourselves. Well, Hilary was right! Making leek and potato soup is simplicity itself. It’s hard to believe it’s just vegetables, water, and salt for seasoning. This is a great soup served warm on a cold winter night, and would also be great chilled for a spring lunch or dinner. We made Julia Child’s version from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and she suggests varying the recipe by adding other vegetables. We like to serve it like Hilary did – a drizzle of creme fraiche or sour cream, and a sprinkling of herbs.
Leek and Potato Soup (Potage Parmentier)
- A 3- to 4-quart saucepan
- 3 to 4 cups peeled potatoes sliced or diced
- 3 cups thinly sliced leeks or yellow onions
- 2 quarts water
- 1 Tb salt
- 1/3 cup heavy cream or 2 to 3 Tb softened butter (we omitted this, and didn’t miss it all)
- a drizzle of creme fraiche or sour cream per serving
- 2 to 3 Tb minced parsley or chives
Simmer the vegetables, water, and salt together, partially covered, for 40 to 50 minutes until vegetables are tender.
Mash the vegetables in the soup with a fork, or pass the soup through a food mill. Add salt and pepper as needed. Set aside uncovered until just before serving, then reheat to the simmer.
Remove from heat just before serving, and stir in the cream or butter by spoonfuls. Pour into a tureen or soup cups and decorate with creme fraiche (or half & half) and herbs.
Makes about 2 quarts, serving 6 to 8