Leek and potato soup is often regarded as a thick and smooth soup, sometimes with the addition of cream; it is well known around the world, although Wales and Ireland have some of the most avid consumers, and even consider this soup a national dish. A collection of different renditions includes the famous French “Vichyssoise”, a creamy version which may be served cold or hot. In contrast to this ideology, there are some leek and potato soups that are chunky, with a clear broth, such as the Scottish “Leek and Tattie”, or from Spain, the “Porrulsada” (from a Basque dialect, the forms porru – leek and salda – broth), which is a classic leek and potato soup in broth, sometimes with other vegetables, such as carrots or squash. In Mexico, the traditional version only calls for sautéed leek rings and cubed potatoes, cooked in chicken broth or water, and seasoned with salt. For my recipe, I chose veggie broth since I planned to keep it vegetarian, and added black pepper and garlic for extra notes; finally, a good scoop of tomato paste was added for umami taste, and to confer the final seal of Mexican flavour to my soup.
Leek and Potato Soup – Sopa de Poro y Papa
1 leek; washed, roots and green tops removed
2 large potatoes; washed
1 tbsp butter (omit for vegan option)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic; peeled
¼ cup water
6 cups broth (veggie, or chicken)
2 tbsp tomato paste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Slice cleaned leek into thin rings; reserve. Peel potatoes and slice into small cubes; reserve. In a large pan, warm up butter (if using) and oil over medium heat; add leek rings and sauté until translucent, then incorporate minced garlic (photo below, left). Continue cooking for one minute, then add potatoes, stirring to mix with the leeks, and coat with oil (photo below, right):
Continue cooking for another three minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent vegetables from burning. Add water to deglaze the pan, scrapping any bits from the bottom (photo below, left); pour broth in, stirring to incorporate (photo below, right):
Season with salt and pepper, then add tomato paste, stirring to dissolve in the broth (photo below, left). Bring to boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are completely cooked (test with a fork, photo below, right):
Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper, if needed. Serve very hot:
This is the perfect bowl as a first item on a menu, before the main course, or as a light lunch on a cold winter day.