Potato Leek Soup
1 Tbsp. olive or canola oil
2 large leeks, washed very well and thinly sliced (or may use frozen leeks)
6 cloves garlic
½ tsp. dried thyme
3-4 large Russet potatoes (about 2-2½ lbs), peeled and roughly cut into bite-sized pieces
Black pepper, to taste
4 C. vegetable broth
Paprika, to taste
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. When hot, add the leeks. Let cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add garlic, thyme, potatoes and black pepper. Cook for another minute or two, stirring often.
Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. (I like to use Better than Bouillon No-Chicken Base: dissolve 1½ Tbsp. bouillon base per 4 C. water.) Reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Potatoes should be very tender.
Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until it has reached the desired texture. I like to blend so that there are still some larger chunks of potato left in the soup. If you do not have an immersion blender, carefully scoop half the mixture into a blender and puree it. Add it back to the pot. Overall, the texture is ideal when somewhat chunky but creamy. Add water as needed if the soup becomes too thick.
Adjust seasoning as needed. Serve with a sprinkle of paprika on top. Additional topping ideas: fresh chives, vegan croutons, sauteed leeks.
To make the dish even more hearty, pan-fry two or three strips of tempeh bacon on the stove. Just before removing, drizzle a small amount of maple syrup on top of the tempeh (to taste) and flip to coat. Let the tempeh sizzle in the pan with the maple syrup for 30-60 seconds, then remove and cut into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle tempeh on top of the potato leek soup and serve.
Adapted from Chef Chloe Coscarelli’s potato leek soup recipe in her cookbook "Chloe Flavor: Saucy, Crispy, Spicy, Vegan."
MORE FROM THE AUTHOR:
Potato and leek soup: An ancient classic for cold winter days
There seems to be some debate about the true origin of soup made with potatoes and leeks.
Evidence of soups featuring these ingredients appears in French, Irish and Welsh culinary tradition.
Potatoes were all the rage in France beginning in the late 18th century, thanks to the efforts of Antoine-Augustin Parmentier, potato advocate extraordinaire. This led to an abundance of potato recipes gaining popularity in the country in the 19th century. Potato potages became family favorites, including simple soups of potato and leek that have persevered from generation to generation.
In Wales, the leek has been a national emblem since at least the 14th century. Even William Shakespeare referred to leeks as a symbol of Welsh pride in "Henry V."
Variations of cawl cennin, or leek soup, most often pair the prized vegetable with potatoes. The comforting warmth of such a dish has not lost its favor over the centuries.
Some readers may have experience using traditional ingredients like chicken broth or cream in potato leek soup. The recipe that follows is a healthier, plant-based version of this classic dish that omits animal products. This vegan soup is cholesterol-free, cruelty-free, easy to make, and freezes well.