Friday, June 25, 2010

Easy Leek and Potato Soup

Do you ever order soup in cafes or restaurants?  Excluding Asian-style tom yum, pho or wonton soups, that is.
Ordering soup when eating out seems rather strange to me - it's not quite a meal, if you know what I mean.  I think the only time I've had soup was as an accompaniment to a sandwich, though it was more of an afterthought, in case the sandwich wasn't enough.

Anyway,  I came across some lovely, thin leeks the other day and decided to make leek and potato soup.  And rather than trawling through my hundreds of magazines for a recipe, I looked up my well-thumbed copy of Stephanie Alexander's The Cook's Companion.  It's a fantastic reference for all types of food, and I've found it particularly useful for finding out how to select, store and prepare items that you don't normally buy, eg. how long can you store pomegranates for, and how can you tell if that pear is a good one?  Brilliant!

Leek and Potato Soup
serves 4

2 tblsp olive oil
6 small leeks, washed and sliced
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 large onion, sliced
1 stick celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 sprig of thyme
Salt and pepper, to season

1.  Heat olive oil in a large saucepan.  Add leeks, potatoes, onion, celery and garlic, then lower the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, until the leek has softened.
2.  Barely cover the vegetables with cold water, then add the thyme.  Simmer, uncovered, until potato is tender, about 15 minutes.
3.  Remove the thyme and blend or puree the soup (in a blender or with a stick mixer) until the soup is very smooth.
4.  Season well with salt and pepper.  Note:  There is not a lot of flavour in the soup, so be sure to taste it and season accordingly.
5.  To serve, reheat to boiling.  The soup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days, or frozen for 3 months.

Recipe adapted from the cook's companion

Lots of rustic ingredients, including onion, celery, potato and thyme

After blending the soup till it's smooth, serve with crusty bread

Blackboard special - today only!


  1. yum i <3 leek and potato soup in winter! and hee your blackboard is awesome!

  2. Ooh i love your blackboard - so cute!! Soups in winter are great :)

  3. looks delicious...I love hearty winter soups :)

  4. The blackboard is very bistro/cafe, isn't it? It comes with the latest Donna Hay magazine :)

  5. Hehe I have the same blackboard! :) and omg I love this soup, def one of my favourites!

  6. Winter is indeed about soups and stews.

  7. Soup us something I never order when I'm out, unless it's Asian. Potato & leek soip is always a good one, especially with crusty bread!

  8. Hey Bel, those leeks are pretty. I bet your soup was super yum.

    By the way, I only order soup at Asian places or super nice restaurants. Otherwise, I'm not interested in the muck that was thrown together in order to not waste. I work in restaurants and know what 'soup' means at most of them...

  9. i don't order soups other than @ asian restaurants.....yum yours looks delicious. i am making a lamb & barley one today! think i'll give yours a go tomorrow!

  10. Mmmm, thick and comforting! Love the blackboard too =)

  11. Yeah I usually have soups as a side too :P
    Your bowl of soup looks so pretty - like it came straight out of a nice that blackboard!

  12. Bel that's such a cute idea of have a blackboard a la bistro style - I have got a board I bought in France ages ago that I never used... might start using it soon. And the soup - Stephanie Alexander sure knows her stuff - her cookbook is also one of my favourites.

  13. Love the styling Belle ;)
    I usually don't order soup when eating out too because I always feel it's never substantial enough to be called a meal. I do like soups to have for lunch during winter though (to avoid the hot chips). Actually made leek and potato a few weeks ago, the photos are still here on the dard drive =D

  14. I bought all the ingredients for this on the weekend and very much looking forward to a comforting spoonful of this soup!

  15. I hardly ever order soup when out either - probably because soup is generally so inexpensive and easy to make! And The Cooks Companion is such a fantastic book - I love it!

  16. I rarely order it when I go out come to think of it. I guess I always find them rather easy to make and they can really fill you up (meaning less room for sweeties and other important stuff! ;) )

  17. This made me chuckle. I rarely order anything that could be construed as healthy when I'm out - I just feel like I'd be missing out on the naughty stuff. However I took a tip and ordered a pumpkin soup with thyme and croutons at the Big Table at the Adelaide Central Market the other day and it was truly fantastic (it also came with a a lovely, quite big baguette - just in case).

    Thanks for the recipe, I'm a bit soup crazy lately so I'm on a constant look out for good ones. I bought the Kitchen Garden Companion recently too and this has even more of a focus on veggies (includes growing tips too).

  18. You're so cute with the blackboard :) Can we have a game of Noughts & Crosses on it?

    I only ever really order soup when out if it is part of a set menu or sometimes with a sandwich/wrap at lunch. I just find that soups at most normal restaurants seem to be so heavy with cream that I can't enjoy them. Tom yum type soups, I agree, are in a special category though!