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Irish Potato Leek Soup

Potato Leek Soup is an Irish favorite. It is just what you need on these cold nights when old man winter still refuses to release you from his icy clutches. Making this soup is so easy. You only need about 30 minutes. The ingredients are simple: butter, leeks, potatoes, salt, pepper and stock (vegetable or chicken). I will say this, if you can find Irish butter, use it. It tastes so much fresher and creamier than U.S. butter.

a bowl of Irish potato leek soup with chives and sour cream on top and spoons on either side

Different names throughout the isles

Although mostly associated with Ireland, potato Leek Soup is also popular in Scotland where it’s known by the spunky name of “Cock-a-Leekie” It kind of sounds like a children’s outdoor game, doesn’t it? The Welsh, not to be outdone in the naming game, call potato leek soup “Tattie and Leekie”, equally amusing name isn’t it? Leeks belong to the Allium family. Basically they are in the category of onions, garlic, shallots and scallions. Leeks are the mild-mannered relative. Its delicate taste lends them to many uses: sauté and put over rice or a tossed salad.

Frugal beginnings

Potato Leek Soup is one of those simple ethnic dishes. It probably arose from stretching the food supply. Think about it! It is pretty obviously made of leftover ingredients easily procured in a nearby/family orchard. My husband’s German aunt used to make Leek and Potato Soup and it was delicious. She did it the old fashioned way. How? Well, after everything was cooked, she would take a fine sieve and push down the solids through the mesh with a pestle. Yeah, talk about dedication!  I guess if I wanted to be 100% authentic I could do it this way, maybe. Nah, I don’t have the muscle power or the patience.

a bowl of irish potato leek soup topped with cream and chives with spoons on either side

An immersion blender is your friend

Now, for the texture. I must confess, I am a texture kind of girl. I don’t like my creamy soups chunky, I like them creamy. I don’t like big chunks of anything in my soup either. Yeah, you can say I am PICKY.   Soooo, needless to say, I like my leek and potato soup very smooth.

Needless to say, the immersion blender is my friend. Sprinkle some chopped chives on top and drizzle on some heavy cream or sour cream. Food is also supposed to be pretty, right? And don’t forget that chunk of Irish Brown Bread. Potato leek soup wouldn’t be the same without it.

A vegetable with rich history

Leeks are thought to hail from Central Asia, where they’ve been cultivated for over 1,000 years. Leeks were highly esteemed in antiquity. Egyptian drawings and carvings are evidence that leeks were most likely part of the Egyptian diet. Yes, the guys that built the pyramids probably ate leeks! So how did a vegetable from Central Asia get to the British Isles? Well, it is thought that leeks were brought to Britain by the Phoenicians who traded with the Welsh.  No surprise then that the leek features prominently in Welsh history as their national symbol

The Romans valued their leeks because they thought them to have medicinal benefits, especially for the throat. It will come as no surprise then that the infamous Nero, supposedly ate large quantities of leeks, to improve his singing voice out of all things! Nero liked to sing? I thought he just liked to play with fire and the fiddle. Too bad the leeks did nothing to improve his humanity.

You must first prepare your leeks before adding them to the soup. Leeks are most often grown in very sandy soils and will accumulate sand in between layers so proper cleaning is a must.

How to clean and prepare leeks:

A collage of photos showing how to cut, clean and prepare leeks.

  1. The first step is to remove about 1/2 to 3/4 inch off the root end with a sharp knife.  
  2. Next you want to remove the leaves just before they spilt apart and form a “Y”. The leaves are a bit tough and fibrous so those are discarded. You only want to use the white part up to the part just before it starts to turn dark green.
  3. Cut the remaining piece right down the middle lengthwise so you end up with two halves of semi-circles.
  4. Take each half and place it under some cold running water and gently spread open between the layers and allow the water to flush out any soil or sand. Your leek is now clean and ready to chop up!

Step by step photos to make Irish potato leek soup:

A collage of photos showing the ingredients and steps to make Irish potato leek soup on the stove in a pot.

  1. Gather all your ingredients and have them measured, chopped and ready to go: butter, onion, leeks, potatoes, chicken broth and black pepper. You can also add a couple simple toppings when ready to serve: fresh chopped chives and sour cream.
  2. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven melt the butter on medium heat then add the onions and allow them to soften, not brown. Once they are soft add the chopped leeks. Stir those in and allow them to soften for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the potato and black pepper then give them a stir to combine.
  4. Add the chicken broth and turn to high and bring to boil.
  5. Once the soup boils turn the heat to low, cover and cook until the potatoes are soft. This will take about 15 minutes. Check the softness of the potatoes with a fork for doneness. The fork should pierce them easily with no crunch when they are ready.
  6. Once the potatoes are soft use and immersion blender to make a smooth liquid. Serve with chopped chives and sour cream.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • How long can I save Irish potato leek soup? You can store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container. Be sure to completely cool the soup before refrigerating.
  • Can I freeze this soup? Yes, you must completely cool the soup before freezing. Store in airtight containers for 4 to 6
    months.  This type of soup will separate a bit after thawing so stir it well when reheating.

If you are interested in more Irish recipes here are a few to try or bookmark for later.   Irish butter cookies are favorite melt in your mouth shortbread cookie recipe that does call for Irish butter, no substitutes.  If you want to make a hearty meal for your family then you have to try Dublin coddle with Irish bangers and vegetables or Guinness beef stew.  Serve these two hearty dishes with Irish soda bread or a sweeter version, Irish brown bread.

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Quick and easy Irish potato leek soup recipe | ethnicspoon.com
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Irish Potato Leek Soup

Smooth and creamy potato leek soup. This is a super easy recipe to make and it has such delicate flavors. One of my favorite homemade soups.  I love this soup! 
Course Soup
Cuisine Irish
Keyword chicken broth, easy soup, homemade soup, Saint Patrick's Day
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 116kcal
Author Analida Braeger

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 onion medium, chopped
  • 2 leeks (whites only and light green parts) finely chopped, well cleaned and rinsed
  • 2 potatoes large baking type peeled and cubed
  • 32 ounces chicken broth you can substitute vegetable broth also
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper cracked
  • 1 Tbsp chive chopped, optional topping
  • 1 tsp sour cream for drizzling on top, optional

Instructions

  • In a large deep skillet melt the butter on medium heat.
  • Add onions and allow to soften. Add the leeks and allow to cook until the leeks are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the potatoes. Turn a few times and sprinkle with cracked pepper.
  • Add the broth and allow it to come to a boil.
  • Turn down the heat to low. Cover and cook until potatoes are soft, about 15 minutes.
  • Using an immersion blender, break down all the solids until the mixture is smooth. Serve with chopped chives. Drizzle with heavy cream if desired.
  • Serve with Irish soda bread. Adapted from The Compete Irish Pub Cookbook

Notes

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • How long can I save Irish potato leek soup? You can store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container. Be sure to completely cool the soup before refrigerating.
  • Can I freeze this soup? Yes, you must completely cool the soup before freezing. Store in airtight containers for 4 to 6
    months.  This type of soup will separate a bit after thawing so stir it well when reheating.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 116kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 613mg | Potassium: 494mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 640IU | Vitamin C: 23.6mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 3.3mg


This post first appeared on Analida's Ethnic Spoon, please read the originial post: here

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