Is it still soup weather?
After a weekend in the upper 60’s in South Jersey it certainty does feel like spring is sneaking up on us…I mean, I actually got a wee bit o’color on my face on Sunday! Never mind it’s mid-February. Anyway, the calendar still proclaims it’s soup season, so I’m writing about this deeee-licious potato leek soup. It’s creamy, savory, potatoey and spoon-licking good! And really, I consider this a transition soup -winter to spring- because it boasts the carby density of roasted potatoes (which remind me of winter) and the fresh mild flavor of spring leeks.
Potato Leek Soup…who invented it?
A quick Google search turned into not-so-quick research in trying to determine the origins of the original recipe. It turns out that many cultures (Irish, French, Welsh, American…) claim ownership of this tasty soup and it’s really no surprise. It’s simple to prepare, uses the ubiquitous potato and can be served hot or cold. Have you ever heard of vichyssoise, aka cold potato soup? Apparently it was first “invented” by Louis Diat in 1917, who was a chef at NY’s Ritz Carlton. He sought to re-create the potato leek soup of his childhood and it was an instant favorite. Irishabroad.com claims that potato leek soup is traditional Irish comfort food…and potatoes became a staple in Ireland by the early 1700’s. Oh, and in Wales, leek soup (made with potatoes of course) is called Cawl Cennin and features the leek, which is the national emblem of Wales! Phew!
Potato Leek Soup Made Vegan… can it be creamy?
Alright, I’m sure that little history lesson made ya’ll hungry so let’s get to it. Traditional recipes for potato leek soup call for cream, but as I have noted in earlier posts like my Roasted Tomato Soup, smooth creaminess can be achieved in other ways. Here, I used a little coconut cream which I think really lends a fresh depth of flavor, without imparting a noticeable coconut taste.
In addition, the potatoes are riced and added to the blended soup- a suggestion made by Serious Eats in their version , and one that really keeps this soup light and almost fluffy.
Creamy, sure but with a nice chew!
I do like a chew with my soup. Take for example, the roasted tomato soup I mentioned earlier. I serve it with crackers or grilled sammies because I feel that soup needs a dippity-do. It’s a perfect pairing. Here, I put the dippity in the soup, so to speak, by adding roasted potatoes. They give the potato leek soup a lovely texture and a layered flavor effect. You can absolutely leave them out, but I promise the little extra effort is well worth it.
Leftover soup can be stored in the refrigerator and reheated, and I recommend keeping the extra potatoes separate and warming in a toaster oven or in a pan to maintain their crispy contrast to the creamy soup. (say that 5 times fast!) Bon appetit! Bain taitneamh as do bhéile! Enjoy your meal!