Leek and Potato Soup [Potage Parmentier]

I adore all forms of Potage Parmentier –  Leek and Potato Soups and others in that genre.  Easy, quick and simply scrumptious.  I like my L&P to be very green, very smooth and thin [like thin cream]; nothing worse than a thick floury lumpy bland white mass. 

For a Potage Bonne Femme: as per this recipe with the inclusion of 1 large or two medium sweet carrots – not woody and old ones – peeled and chopped finely.  Add with the rest of the vegetables. This gives an orangey colour and a sweeter taste.  Yummy.  Other root vegetables can be added depending on taste – a Potage Bonne Femme basically refers to any homey vegetable soup made with cheap but nutritious root vegetables.

Serves 4 – 6.

. . . . . . . . . .


2 large white potatoes, peeled and chopped into eighths [smaller pieces seem to cook slower and make the soup watery and less flavoursome]

2 large, white leeks, thoroughly washed *, then sliced finely

6 – 8 cloves garlic, peeled and halved

2 tbs butter

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp dried thyme **

2 tsp dried parsley

600 ml chicken stock [preferably home made or good quality bought]

1 tbs fresh parsley, roughly torn **

1/2 tbs fresh thyme

400 ml milk

white pepper, salt

* Leeks are very gritty, and while grit is apparently a requirement in the diet of a budgerigar, it ain’t welcome here

** I like to use both dried AND fresh herbs as a] this intensifies the flavour and b] fresh herbs give a really nice green colour

. . . . . . . . . .


On a low heat, warm the olive oil in the saucepan, and when beginning to bubble a little, add butter in chunks and give it a bit of a stir to start melting.  The reason for adding olive oil first; it stops the butter [with its higher water content] from burning.  Burnt butter is vile and bitter and nothing can be done to save it or any meal it’s used in; toss and start from scratch.  When butter has begun to melt around the edges, add the leek, potato, garlic, and dried herbs.

Allow the vegetables to stew gently in the olive oil and butter for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Do not brown the vegetables – melt, sweat, stew are the operative words here.

You may not see this way of stewing the vegetables in oil and butter first in other cookbooks.  I find it gives a more intense flavour – a good thing as Leek and Potato Soups can be spectacularly boring – and more importantly, a faster total cooking time than when you add the stock and the vegetables all at the same time.

When the vegetables have sweated down a little, and should be nicely covered in the oil and butter, add the chicken stock.  Keep the saucepan on a low heat, simmer for about 30 minutes until vegetables are soft and potatoes are easily mushed.  Add the fresh herbs after about 20 minutes of cooking time – don’t add them earlier as the bright green colour will be leached out and you don’t want that.

Take saucepan off heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.  Blend vegetables and broth with a handheld blender, moving the blender around in a figure-8 motion until soup is very smooth and creamy.  This should only take about 5 minutes.

Put saucepan back onto a very very low heat.  Slowly add the milk, stirring all the while, until the consistency of thin cream.  Taste, and add salt and white pepper [black pepper ruins the colour] to taste preference.  Bring the heat back up to a simmer;  DO NOT BOIL.

Serve in a wide flat bowl with a few finely chopped chives or other fines herbes sprinkled artfully in the centre, and bread or croutons on the side to dip or float.

Leftovers can be frozen and later reheated most successfully [I always have a tub or two in the freezer for emergency snacks/starters].  The soup will thicken so add a ladle of hot water as you bring soup back up to heat.

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  • billetsdoux  On Sunday 17 September 2006 at 7:46 pm

    I am sure this soup is very nice, but personally dont think dried herbs are the best in this kind of soup. This is how I make it, and Im not saying its better than yours, its just what I like.

    You need some good chicken stock; a lot of chives, parsley (flat or curly or both) and some tarragon or chervil if you like; potatoes and leeks obviously-I find one large leek is enough, using all of it.

    Take the stalks from the parsley (and tarragon or chervil) and half the chives, put them in the stock and slowly bring to a simmer. Once started to simmer turn off the heat and let the herbs infuse with the stock for half an hour.

    Meanwhile, gently sweat the potato (peeled and cubed) in some unsalted butter, being careful not to let it catch or burn-if it starts to catch just add a spoon of the stock. After five minutes or so add the sliced leek. Season with salt and white ground pepper. Continue to sweat for a couple more minutes.

    Discard the stalks and herbs from the stock and pour the stock over the vegetables. Simmer until tender. Blitz in the blender, check for seasoning.

    I like to add some creme fraiche, but double cream is equally good, as is just leaving as it is.

    When ready to serve add the rest of the finely chopped herbs (at the last minute so they dont lose anything).

  • otterkat  On Sunday 17 September 2006 at 8:50 pm

    That DOES sound good – I’ll give those modifications a try. Note: I use both dried AND fresh herbs, for the intensification of flavour – I’d certainly never use dried herbs on their own. Many thanks for commenting!
    – Jules

  • Cellan  On Saturday 27 July 2013 at 12:41 pm

    We stumbled over here by a different web address and thought I might check things out.
    I like what I see so i am just following you. Look forward
    to looking at your web page again.


  • By Recipe Index « OTTERKAT on Sunday 29 June 2008 at 5:41 pm

    […] Potage Parmentier   [Leek & Potato Soup] […]

  • By Recipe Index « OTTERKAT on Tuesday 11 October 2011 at 11:24 am

    […] Potage Parmentier   [Leek & Potato Soup] […]

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