Spud Sunday: Soup in Season

My vegetable basket runneth over.

Seasonal Vegetable Basket from Bord Bia

...and that's just the stuff you can see

I took delivery of a harvest hamper last week, very kindly supplied by the Best In Season folks, which included carrots, parsnips, celery, broccoli, red cabbage, york cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, yellow pepper, leeks and (last but by no means least) rooster potatoes. Phew! That’s enough to satisfy my 5-a-day requirements for some time to come. As you might expect, I have been giving the vegetables my full attention since.

I can report that I munched on the lettuce, lunched on the tomatoes, made a batch of kimchi with the red cabbage, used the pepper in a green tomato chutney (coming soon to a blog near you), and I can definitely see carrot soup in my future.

Potato and leek soup

Potatoes and leeks, together at last

I also felt utterly compelled to make soup from the potatoes and leeks. It’s a classic combination and there ain’t nothing wrong with classic. If you want to be fancy and French about it, you could call this Potage Parmentier, named, as this kind of soup is, after Antoine Augustin Parmentier, the original champion of the spud in France, and who is credited with having devised it in the first place.

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Potato and Leek Soup

It may be a classic but you’ll see plenty of variations on this particular soupy theme. Some recipes include onions, some not. Some include milk or cream, some not. Many use a chicken stock base, but you can make a very satisfying soup without. If you fancy something that’s served cold rather than hot, you can chill this and call it vichyssoise. As for me, my own particular thing is to add garlic and thyme, which you can do too, or not (in which case you will end up with something very close to the version described by Sippity Sup when he was going through his soup phase).

You’ll need:
  • approx. 500g potatoes
  • 2 large leeks (white and light green parts chopped – should yield about 250g)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tblsps butter
  • 0.5 tsp dried thyme
  • approx. 800ml water
  • 1.5 tsp fine salt or to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper
You’ll also need:
  • Some kind of blending equipment if you prefer your soup to be smooth in texture. An immersion blender is the handiest.
The Steps:
  • Chop the garlic and the white and light green parts of the leeks. Peel and cube the potatoes.
  • Place a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and allow it to melt.
  • Add the garlic and leeks to the pan, sauté over medium low heat until soft, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add the potatoes, thyme and salt, toss with the leeks and add the water, enough to cover the veggies.
  • Increase the heat to medium, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes break up easily when pressed with the back of a wooden spoon.
  • Remove from the heat, blend, taste for salt and add more if you like, along with a few twists of black pepper. The soup will be quite thick, so thin it with additional water or with milk if you like and gently reheat. The addition of some cream is traditional but not obligatory.
  • I like this served with a dollop of tangy natural yoghurt and some freshly chopped parsley if I have it.
The Variations:
  • For a more traditional version, leave out the garlic and thyme and add cream and parsley or chives. You can replace some of the leeks with onion or use a chicken stock base instead of water if you like. Allow to cool and chill if it’s a vichyssoise you’re after.
The Results:
  • Soupiness for 3-4 people.
Comments
  • I’m loving soups right now, too. Though, Southern California is still in summer mode. I’ve been indulging in soups in the hopes that cooler weather will come.

  • ohhh. that is one of my favorite soups ever! it looks delicious! i hope you’re doing well :)

  • What I wouldn’t do for a bowl of this! Fantastic!

  • i love potato leek soup and yours looks amazing!

  • I have been WAITING for you to make this? Do you have an opinion about red, brown or white potatoes? GREG

  • My mom would make this soup almost every Sunday in the winter when I was growing up. I LOVE it. Yours looks beautiful.

  • Mmm… sounds perfectly delicious! I made a potato & leek soup once and my daughter loved it, I should make it again soon!

  • I so love the vegetables of the moment!! Your vegetables basket is loaded with yummie veggies!!

    I also love your classic but very tasty soup!! MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM,…
    the potatoes look lovely!

  • This would be absolutely perfect for today. The weather is windy and cool, just when a hot soup would do me some good! I have had baked potato soup, which is very yummy, but never potato and leek soup. This sounds great.

    Now I am thinking about having this is as a compliment for a grilled cheese with some sort of potato product. Oh, the possibilities1

  • jenn: heareabouts, despite the fact that we’re had a little blast of mild temperatures, there is no doubting that the cooler weather will be a-coming soon!

    Heather: hey there, great to hear from you – hope you enjoyed your summer

    noble pig: I should send some your way then, I guess :D

    rita: thanks, there’s a reason it’s a classic :)

    sippitysup: I hesitate to specify a colour of spud, because the red / white / brown skinned spuds you might get in the US are not necessarily the same as the ones we we would get here; on the starch content, though, the red-skinned spuds that I use (rooster) tend slightly to the starchy/floury end of the scale (as do most spuds here) and that’s what I use by default

    kickpleat: thanks – there’s just something ultra comforting about a good bowl of potato soup

    Natasha: it’s a lovely combination, that’s for sure

    Sophie: the basket was indeed absolutely loaded with vegetables, needed 2 hands to lift it!

    GrilledShane: potato soup + grilled cheese sandwich (maybe on some nice potato bread) sounds like just the thing for that windy & cool weather

  • Looking at your pictures of nature’s bounty, I’m thinking that a pureed roasted carrot/parsnip/yellow pepper soup should be in your future. And I would never say no to a classic leek and potato soup. Except for if the alternative was cock-a-leekie. Can’t resist the name, you know! :)

  • What a vibrant bounty of veggies!! The soup would hit the spot right now – it looks wonderful!

  • Jenni: I find it hard to resist the name cock-a-leekie myself – though, surveying the contents of the basket and the absence of chooks, it might have to be mock-a-leekie instead!

    Reeni: thanks, it was quite the veggie haul indeed

  • Soup and sandwiches, just perfect in the cooler months.

    Gorgeous photo of the finished soup too :)

  • Perfect – we had so much amazing potato and leek soup in Ireland I felt the inklings of withdrawal, but no more with The Daily Spud to the rescue!

  • Such gorgeous photos of your bounty! It’s always a good time for soup but particularly today – cold and damp – I have a hankering.

  • George: thanks – it’s hard to beat an honest-to-goodness soup & sambo combination once the weather starts turning chilly

    OysterCulture: delighted I could help :)

    Tangled Noodle: there is something deeply warming about a soup like this on a cold day – and we’ll have plenty of those days coming up…

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  • Thanks for posting this recipe. I just made this and with chicken stock and it is delicious!! Perfect for this cold day!

  • Hi ksudd – so glad to hear you enjoyed it, that just makes my day :)

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