This soup is so comforting and easy to make! It makes for an excellent light lunch or serve it as an appetizer for a dinner party!
Leek and Potato Soup or Potage Parmentier originated in France. It consists of leeks, potatoes, stock or water, and cream. The soup was named after French nutritionist and scholar, Antoine-Augustin Parmentier. In the 18th century he had popularized the use of potatoes in French cooking. This soup was commonly made during the 19th century in France. One of the first printed recipes for this soup was published in 1869. A French chef named Jules Gouffe had published a recipe for a hot leek and potato soup in Royal Cookery.
A popular version of leek and potato soup is Vichyssoise. Vichyssoise is leek and potato soup that is served cold. Many historians believe that Vichyssoise was invented in America in 1917 by Ritz Hotel chef, Louis Diat. While others think that Vichyssoise was an accidental creation during the reign of King Louis XV of France (February 15, 1710 – May 10, 1774). It was said that the king loved eating potato soup for dinner, but he was always worried that someone was trying to poison him. Thus he had many servants taste the soup before he ate it. By the time that the potato soup got to the king’s table it would be cold. Then King Louis said that he preferred to eat the soup cold and Vichyssoise was born!
My father and I were avid watchers of the Julia Child cooking show when I was little. We loved her manners and sunny disposition. He and I both enjoyed cooking her recipes. One of her most famous recipes was for Potage Parmentier. It was featured as a master recipe in her book Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I have been tweaking and adjusting her master recipe since high school to my preferences and ingredient availability. Please enjoy this recipe! I hope this soup brings you comfort and joy!
Leek and Potato Soup (Potage Parmentier) Recipe
Yields 8 starter servings or 4 main dish servings
Specialty Tools: Immersion blender or food processor
Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 40 minutes
2 leeks, white and soft green parts only, cleaned and chopped
1 3/4 cups potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup water
1 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish: Parsley or chives
Heat butter in a pot to medium heat. Saute the leeks and potatoes for five minutes.
Add the broth and water. Bring pot to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Simmer the soup for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the milk and heat thru. Salt and pepper to taste.
Take the pot off the heat and with an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth and creamy. If using a food processor, blend the soup until smooth and creamy, work in batches if need be.
Garnish with parsley or chives. Serve warm with a baguette.
Chill the soup and you have Vichyssoise or Cold Leek and Potato Soup. It is excellent served during warm weather!
Variation: If leeks are not available or in season in your area substitute equal parts yellow onions for the leeks!
Be careful and take your time if all you have is a stand blender to blend the soup. Blending soup in a stand blender can cause the soup to become gummy in texture if not done properly.
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