I did it! I wanted a potato leek soup that could be eaten in front of a fireplace in a cozy chalet in the Swiss Alps -Monstein comes to mind. Picture crusty European bread, a chilled bottle of Pinot Grigio, crisp mountain air, a rustic farmhouse vibe, yoddlers (k, maybe not them). In my dreamcation, I sit before the fireplace in the coziest armchair known to man, tired after a day of snowboarding, and placed in front of me is a bowl of potato leek soup, a spectacularly dreamy, creamy (leeky) bowl of soup. Now, if I was truly in a chalet in Switzerland I’d eat cardboard and be happy but in my dream nothing short of a fantastic bowl of soup would do. So I set out to make my dream a reality.
It took a couple tries and some MacGyver ingenuity but the end result matched the bowl of my dreams. Potato leek soup is subtle- it’s not meant to be a spice bomb- so I kept the spices simple, just a bit of thyme, marjoram, bay leaves and a touch of cayenne to enhance the leeks and potatoes. My first couple tries produced some good soup- lots of leek and potato flavor but it wasn’t creamy, dreamy enough, so I boosted the soup base with whole milk and cream. Did you know if you cook potatoes in cream and milk it makes some seriously awesome mashed potatoes? So I used this trick with the soup and cooked the potatoes in a creamy leek bath, and they’re so good. You might want to make extra potatoes and eat some. They pick up a subtle leek flavor and have a creamy, buttery texture. On the first couple of tries I pureed the soup with an immersion blender and a regular blender and found the texture to be a bit gummy- my luscious potatoes didn’t hold up well. So I pulled out the ricer and riced them, a trick I learned here (I cut the potatoes in half so the large chunks were easy to fish out once they cooked). I blended the soup and then threw the riced potatoes back in the pot and gave the whole thing a quick blend. A bit of tang really makes the soup sing, something you can acquire with a good squirt of lemon juice, but to continue the creamy trend I finished the soup with some buttermilk. Toppings are my jam and a must with this soup. My favorite toppings are chives, kielbasa croutons and pancetta bread cubes. And there you go, Seriously, The Best Potato Leek Soup.
This soup is perfect for a fall lunch and it makes a wonderful, and wonderfully romantic, winter meal in front of a fireplace, but it’s also light enough to eat in spring and summer. This soup is the stuff of dreams. Well, my dreams at least. Though I wish I was eating a bowl of potato leek soup on a mountain retreat in Switzerland, I could eat a bowl of this luscious soup anywhere, anytime and be happy. It’s that good!