This past weekend, I had to make sure to make a trip to the Elmwood Bidwell Farmers Market, since it was the second to last weekend that it is going to be there. I stocked up on pumpkins and squashes, brussel sprouts, arugula, sage, leeks, potatoes and so much more. I couldn’t wait to get home and make a huge pot of this creamy potato leek soup. I was happy to find I had everything I needed for this soup already in the pantry, so I could just throw it together quick and enjoy my Saturday evening at home, cuddling with hubby and puppy. I decided to skip any type of cream or milk and go with vegetable broth to keep this soup vegan. I am telling you, on first taste, you could swear there was some type of dairy in there, Mark couldn’t believe it. It is so creamy. If you’d like to go with a chicken stock instead, feel free and if you want the ultimate in creaminess, add a splash or two of heavy cream or milk. I honestly suggest making this soup without the dairy first, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how creamy it is without it and no reason to add the extra calories and fat. If you really want to be indulgent, top your soup with some crumbled bacon (only if it’s farm fresh pastured-raised, humanely treated bacon, of course).
Potato Leek Soup
3 leeks, rinsed very well, slice thinly white and light green parts only*
2 tablespoons olive oil (or butter)
6 cups organic low-sodium vegetable broth (you can also use chicken broth, water or any combination of the three)
2 lbs of potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 teaspoon of marjoram (I didn’t have fresh, so I used dried)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme plus a dash more for serving (use can use dried here, just use less)
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
freshly ground black pepper
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Add the leek slices and season with salt and pepper. Cook leeks over a medium-low heat for approximately 10 minutes. Stir often, making sure they don’t brown. Cook until they are soft and wilted. Add your thyme marjoram and cayenne pepper, stir to combine.
Pour in your broth and add your potatoes. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender. This can take anywhere from 15-30 minutes. Check for doneness by piercing a potato with a sharp knife. If it goes in easily, they are done.
Scoop the soup into a blender and puree until smooth. (be sure not to blend too much soup at once and put a towel over the lid when you are blending so the hot soup doesn’t explode out) Add the pureed soup to a large bowl. Continue blending the whole pot of soup in batches, until it has all been blended. Add the soup back to your pot, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Top each bowl with a few sprinkles of freshly chopped thyme.
* a quick note on cleaning leeks: leeks tend to have a lot of dirt and grit in them. If you aren’t careful when cleaning them, you may think they are totally clean, start cooking with them and find your entire dish has a nasty grittiness to it. This can ruin a dish 🙁 After trimming off the ends (called the beards) and the dark green tops (save these for stocks). You can run them under cold water at this point, or even better, you can submerge the leeks in a large pot of cold water. Swirl them around to really remove all the grit and dirt. Drain well and then cut.