Creamy Potato and Caramelized Leek Soup

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Creamy Potato and Caramelized Leek Soup
Creamy Potato and Caramelized Leek Soup

Potato leek soup is a classic French soup that we have always loved. Variations on this soup abound, like with the addition of bacon, dairy free, chunky, smooth, etc. We enjoy most versions, but what we love is the depth of flavor that caramelizing the leeks brings. When making these alterations it is no longer a “classic” potato-leek soup but that is not the intention here. We wanted to create the best tasting soup we would want to eat! This Creamy Potato and Caramelized Leek Soup is absolutely delicious, full of flavor and perfect for soup season.

What do Leeks Taste Like?

Leeks are from the onion family and have a similar flavor profile to onions, garlic and shallots as well. Compared to these other more well-known vegetables, leeks have a sweeter, less aggressive onion-flavor making them perfect for a variety of dishes, especially soups. The white and light green parts of the stalk are edible and can be eaten raw or cooked. The darker green tops of the stalks are very tough, but are great to add to homemade vegetable stocks or broths.

Leeks can be used in many recipes that call for onions if you want a more mild and sweeter flavor profile.

What Potatoes are Best for this Potato Soup?

There are many potatoes to choose from, but for this soup, the two best options are either Yukon gold potatoes or russet potatoes. Both are easy to find and have enough of a starchy component to make the texture of the soup perfect.

Creamy Potato and Caramelized Leek Soup
Creamy Potato and Caramelized Leek Soup

The goal is to have a thick yet creamy texture, so we prefer Yukon gold potatoes for this reason.

You can certainly use other potatoes – we have experimented here as well – but the overall texture isn’t quite as good with a waxy white or red new potato. 

Pancetta vs Bacon

We don’t mind bacon in this soup at all, but we prefer the more subtle, non-smoky flavor brought out by the pancetta. 

Bacon’s smoky flavor tends to be overpowering in a lot of dishes. Don’t get us wrong, we love bacon, but it has its place and we didn’t want this to be a bacon-forward soup. If you can’t find pancetta, you can of course use bacon, but we encourage you to try pancetta first.

There isn’t much pancetta in this soup, so the flavor is not extremely pronounced, but the delicate addition really makes a difference as opposed to leaving it out (we tried both)! 

The Stock

We prefer vegetable stock in this soup since it is a vegetable forward dish. But either vegetable or chicken stock will work well here, so use what you prefer.

How to Achieve that Smooth Creamy Texture?

To purée the soup, we found it easiest to use an immersion blender. This way, we don’t have to transfer the soup and create more dirty dishes.

Creamy Potato and Caramelized Leek Soup
Creamy Potato and Caramelized Leek Soup

However, you can also use a countertop blender to puree the soup. If using a countertop blender, be extremely careful to start the blending process on the lowest setting and gradually increase the speed until blended. Hot liquids will explode in a blender if started on too high of a setting.

Our third choice is a food processor, which won’t yield as creamy of a texture. It will work just fine, and if you prefer less of a silky texture, it will work fine.

Leftover Soup

If you have any leftovers, store the soup in airtight containers in the fridge for up to one week. Reheating the soup is easy on the stovetop on low or in the microwave.

Enjoy!

We hope that you enjoy this recipe for Creamy Potato and Caramelized Leek Soup! If you give it a try and like it, click the heart at the top of the post, leave us a 5 star rating and comment below, or tag us on Instagram @cooking_with_wine!

Creamy Potato and Caramelized Leek Soup
Creamy Potato and Caramelized Leek Soup

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Creamy Potato and Caramelized Leek Soup

Course: Dinner, SoupsCuisine: FrenchDifficulty: Easy
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

1

hour 

10

minutes
Total time

1

hour 

30

minutes

This recipe makes 4 dinner servings or 8 appetizer servings of soup.

Ingredients

  • For the Soup
  • 6 medium leeks

  • 2 tsp olive oil

  • 4 oz finely chopped pancetta

  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter

  • 1 ½ tsp kosher salt

  • ½ tsp pepper

  • 3 cloves garlic, rough chopped

  • 2 ¼ lbs (1kg) Yukon gold potatoes, cut into large dice

  • 5 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock)

  • 1 ¼ cups heavy cream

  • ¾ cups whole milk

  • 1 Tbsp rosemary, fresh and finely chopped

  • For the Garnish
  • Chopped Parsley

  • Chile oil

  • Fresh cracked black pepper

  • Your favorite warmed or lightly toasted bread

Directions

  • Prepare the Soup
  • Prepare the leeks by cutting off the green tops and the tip of the root end. You will only be using about 4-5 inches of the white and light green part of the leek. The root end can be discarded, and the green tops can be used for vegetable stock if desired, otherwise discard.
  • Fill a large bowl with cold water and set aside. Slice the part of the leeks you will use lengthwise and rinse them under water to remove some excess sand, then place them in the bowl of water. Rinse the leeks in the water bath and change the water 2-3 times to remove all the sand and dirt from them. Remove the leeks from the water and slice them thinly (about 1/8-1/4 inch thick). Set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat a large pot or Dutch oven for your soup over medium heat and add your olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the pancetta and cook until the fat has rendered. Next, add the butter, and when melted, turn the heat to medium-high and add the leeks, salt, and pepper. Stirring often, cook until the leeks start to caramelize. Some will not be caramelized at all, and some will be a deep brown, with most in between showing some golden brown color.
  • Next add the garlic to the caramelized leeks and stir for 30 seconds. Then, add the potatoes and stir. Using a wooden spoon, add about ½ cup of the stock and scrape the bottom of the pot to deglaze, if necessary. Add the rest of the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, test the potatoes to ensure they have no resistance to a skewer or fork.
  • At this point, you can use an immersion blender or a countertop blender to purée the soup. If using the immersion blender, just ensure you blend it enough to become as smooth as you want it to be. If using a countertop blender, be extremely careful to start the blending process on the lowest setting and gradually increase the speed until blended. Hot ingredients will explode in a blender if started on too high of a setting.
  • In the large soup pot with the puree, add the cream, milk and rosemary and stir to incorporate. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning and season soup with more kosher salt if needed.
  • If desired, serve with the parsley, chile oil, and/or cracked black pepper on top, along with crusty bread or garlic toast!

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