After another gorgeous February afternoon spent scaling the westward facing hillside of Mount Tam, I didn’t want a cold beer or an avocado salad – I wanted soup. While all signs pointed to summer, my internal clock knew it was February – soup month.
I didn’t want just any soup. No, I wanted potato leek soup. Let it be known that I had never eaten potato leek soup nor had any inkling of how to prepare it. All I knew was it was February somewhere and there was a giant leek in my fridge begging to be sautéed.
A little research later, I came up with this simple recipe. Unlike my recent Minestrone, which sufficiently feeds a small (vegetarian) army, this soup is the perfect meal for two. Most soups are big batch ordeals, so I like that this one is easy to make, doesn’t take a million and a half hours, and won't clog up your freezer or require a dinner party.
Unlike some potato leek soups, which get pulverized in a blender, this one is smashed – leaving nice chunks of silky skin-on russet potato behind. And, unlike many other soups, which require a zillion ingredients, the flavors here are simple.
Sautéed in butter, the leeks get tender and barely caramelized, bringing out a deep, but not overpowering onion flavor. The thyme and potato add earthiness while the parsley, which is added at the end, keeps things bright.
If you’re a vegetarian, this soup is great on its own, but, otherwise, I wouldn’t shy away from crumbling some crispy bacon on top. In any case, we’re getting close to spring, which means leeks are abundant, but also that soup season is waning. Make this stuff now, before it’s too late!
Ingredients (serves 2)
1 tablespoon butter
1 russet potato
1 garlic clove, whole
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
3 cups veggie broth
Salt and pepper
Thinly slice the white part of the leek. Cut the potato into half-inch cubes.
Melt the butter in a medium sized pot. Add the leeks once the butter begins to bubble. Sautee until tender and just barely brown.
Add the potato, veggie broth, garlic clove, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are fork-tender.
Using a potato smasher or the back of a big spoon, break the potato pieces apart until the desired thickness is reached. I left only a few hunks of potato in there.
Stir in the parsley and add salt and pepper to taste.