Potato Leek Soup

Potato Leek Soup is wonderful during cold weather, served hot, or during hot weather, served chilled. A bit of San Francisco sourdough bread is a perfect accompaniment. A simpler version of this recipe, that takes a lot less work, is Potato Soup.

  • 3 T olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro leaves, minced (opt)
  • 1/2 t dillweed
  • 1/2 t marjoram
  • 1/2 t rosemary
  • 1 bunch green onion, diced
  • 1 med yellow onion, diced
  • 2 leeks, well cleaned and diced
  • 3 lb potatoes (9 - 12 medium potatoes), well washed, scrubbed, and diced 1/2" cubes
  • 4 C chicken or vegetable broth (4 boullion cubes + 4 C boiling water)
  • 4 C milk (1 can evaporated milk + 3 C water)
  • 2/3 C oatmeal
  • ground pepper, nutmeg, diced green onions for garnish
  1. Heat dutch oven (large dutch oven is best) to medium temperature, add olive oil, add cilantro and garlic, crumble dried spices into pan. Saute a few seconds, stir briskly.
  2. Add half of the green onion, saute 30 seconds or so, stir briskly. Reserve other half for garnish.
  3. Add yellow onion, saute a couple minutes.
  4. Add leeks, cook 5 min or so, stir frequently.
  5. Add oatmeal, stir a couple minutes to brown it.
  6. Add potatoes, stir a few minutes to brown them.
  7. Add broth and milk, stir, bring up heat to simmer, turn down to slow simmer.
  8. Cook 30 - 45 minutes, until vegetables are tender and soup thickens. Make sure potatoes are very soft. Longer is better.
  9. Garnish with ground pepper, nutmeg, and reserved chopped green onions.
  10. Serve immediately, if you're hungry. Best flavour may be obtained from refrigerating overnight, but take precautions, if you do this.
Clean The Leeks Well Leeks are a root vegetable like green onions. Unlike the green onion, they gather a lot of dirt inside the root. You must clean them very thoroughly. Nothing kills good soup more than gritty taste (however well cooked). Google for "leeks laxative", if you don't understand the consequences.
  • Trim the root (hairy end), and trim the top, keeping an inch or so of the green leafy leek. Save the remainder for other soups, or cooking in general.
  • Slice the leek lengthwise, in half.
  • Hold the half in your hand so it doesn't separate, agitate in a large pan of water for a good 30 seconds to wash all dirt out of the root. Don't be in a hurry here, clean well. Repeat for each half.
  • Drain the pan. Wash all dirt out of the pan, refill with water, and repeat cleaning until the pan drains totally clean.
  • Let the leek halves drain well, slice as thin as you can vertically, then chop horizontally.
If Prepared The Previous Night With most soups and stews, and this recipe is no exception, the flavour is intensified from sitting overnight, in a well sealed refrigerator container, after cooking. But be prepared. The oatmeal in this recipe will continue to soak up fluids, even when refrigerated. So if you prepare potato leek soup, and plan to serve it the next day, have a couple extra bouillon cubes ready. Make a couple cups extra broth, before warming the soup for serving. If the soup has turned into stew, or aspic even, warm it slowly and add 1/2 cup of broth, or even more, until it becomes a soup again. The flavour will be perfect, and the consistency will make the extra effort worthwhile. The Leftover Portion Of The Leek Do not throw out the green leafy portion of the leek - it's all good. It makes an perfect substitute for onion in any recipe. Properly diced, it works quite well in Couscous Salad, or Tabouilli, for instance.