If you’re sharing in the 26-degree, snow, and no-sun-in-sight chills, our Creamy Leek and Potato Soup may be just the thing to warm you from your toes all the way to your cheeks. Our version of a Leek and Potato Soup includes all of the star ingredients you’d normally see, but we take it up a notch with notes of brown butter, shallot and a pop acid at the end. Adding a sprinkling of crunchy fried brown butter pine nuts and leeks as the finishing touch not only adds a pop of texture and flavor with each bite, but truly makes this Creamy Leek and Potato Soup restaurant quality.
Creamy Leek and Potato Soup with Brown Butter
While we are no stranger to a hearty, texture-heavy soups like our Italian Minestrone Soup or a true homestyle favorite, Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup, sometimes when I’m craving soup I want something simpler, more elevated and a little bit lighter.
Our Creamy Leek and Potato Soup hits the sweet spot I crave between comfort and elegance, and still manages to pack in ample flavor and warm your soul at the same time. We’ve taken almost all of the classic ingredients of a true creamy leek and potato soup, but added hints of nutty brown butter, shallot for an extra kick of sweet onion flavor, and a delicate balance of acid from dry white wine and a splash of white wine vinegar. (Vinegar sounds odd, but I’ll explain later.)
Adding a sprinkling of crunchy fried brown butter pine nuts and leeks as the finishing touch not only adds a pop of texture and flavor with each bite, but truly makes this Creamy Leek and Potato Soup restaurant quality.
As the name implies, our leek and potato soup is ultra creamy, but contrary to what the name implies, we only need to use a scant amount of heavy cream to give the soup the luxurious mouthfeel you’d expect from a creamy soup. Instead the creaminess comes from the potatoes themselves and a good-quality chicken stock. And while I wouldn’t put it directly in the healthy category just yet, it is significantly lighter than many of the cream-based soups you’ll find out there.
Let’s get started!
Ingredients in Creamy Leek and Potato Soup
Butter. Every soup base needs a fat to start with. I wanted to include hints of brown butter throughout the soup, so butter is what we went with. To sauté the vegetables we only need a few tablespoons, but we also need a little bit more later to fry the shallots and pine nuts at the end.
Leeks. If you’ve never had a leek before, you’re in for a treat. They have a lovely onion flavor, but are much milder and sweeter than a classic onion. The only problem with leeks is the layers they have means they can get very dirty. You can clean them with a damn paper towel layer by layer, or you can chop them and rinse them in a big bowl of cold water. All of the dirt and debris should fall to the bottom and then you can pull the leeks out.
The aromatics. I wanted to keep things as simple as possible so all we use is a little bit of sweet shallot to compliment the leeks and one large clove of garlic.
Potatoes. You could really use any potato you want here, but for pureed potato soups, I like to stick with Yukon gold potatoes. They have an almost buttery taste and texture to them I love, and they puree beautifully.
Wine. You want to use a dry white wine. A sauvignon blanc or chardonnay are my top two choices.
Chicken broth. Normally I’m not too picky when it comes to chicken broth/stock. These days most varieties are pretty high quality, but since our creamy leek and potato soup relies heavily on chicken stock, you should go with something good quality and make sure it’s low-sodium so you can control the amount of salt that goes into the soup. We love Kitchen Basics, Rachel Ray, or Pacific Organic. Trader Joe’s also has a good-quality chicken stock as well.
Cream. As we talked about it prior, we really don’t need much cream to finish the soup off. A quarter cup is all you need.
Vinegar. This may seem like an odd ingredient to add, but creamy soups really benefit from a punch of acid at the end. It helps to balance out the flavors in the soup and bring a little brightness to the dish. All you need is a teaspoon.
Let’s make Creamy Leek and Potato Soup
Clean the leeks. As we mentioned before, leeks are notoriously dirty. Chop them and then dunk them in a large bowl of cold water. Use your hands to swirl them around and let the dirt and debris fall to the ground.
Brown the butter. We’ve talked SO MANY TIMES about browning butter (most recently here and here), but it’s the best way to add flavor to dishes. Start by adding the butter to the pot you’re going to use. Turn the heat on medium-high and when we see the butter start to brown, swirl the pot. That’s it! When the butter smells nutty and is a deep golden brown, you’re good to go. Turn the heat down and add your leeks and shallots.
Sweat the vegetables. Season them with salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to medium and sauté the vegetables. You don’t want them to get too brown, so you may have to teeter between medium and medium low depending on your stove. Once they’re soft, add the garlic and potatoes and cook another minute or two to soften then garlic and coat the potatoes in the brown butter.
Simmer. Pour in the chicken stock, a little bit more salt and let everything simmer until the potatoes are fork-tender.
Puree. I have a great blender I use to puree soups. It makes them oh-so creamy and delicious. However, if you don’t have one, a regular blender will also work. Just blend until smooth.
The Brown Butter Pine Nuts and Shallots
While the creamy leek and potato soup itself is luxurious, and smooth and creamy and SO FREAKING GOOD, the brown butter pine nuts and shallots we top it off with really take it to the next level. Here’s how we do it.
- Again, brown a little bit (three tablespoons) of butter in a small skillet.
- When the butter is bubbly, hot, and irresistibly nutty throw in the remaining leeks and pine nuts. Let them bubble away until they’re covered in the brown butter and ever-so-slightly brown.
- Sprinkle the pine nuts and shallots on top of the soup. Drizzle with extra brown butter. Oh, and if you’ve got it, sprinkle with a little flaked maldon salt.
Other topping options
- If you want a leek and potato soup with bacon, bake some up in the oven while the soup simmers.
- Top with these Easy Homemade Croutons.
- You could also fry up some shallots in the brown butter.
- Serve with dollop of sour cream or Crème fraîche and chopped dill.
- Pepita seeds.
- Garlic bread crumbs.
Can I make Creamy Leek and Potato Soup ahead of time?
You bet. This its actually PERFECT to make in advance. Make from start to finish, cool completely and then store in an airtight container for up to three days. Heat in the microwave in individual portions or on the stove for the whole batch.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- If you wanted to make the leek and potato soup without cream, you can absolutely do that. Just leave it out! It will still be ultra creamy and delicious.
- If you are vegetarian, you can swap out the chicken stock for vegetable stock.
- Don’t have a shallot on hand? Feel free to leave it out.
- You don’t have to use Yukon gold potatoes, russet potatoes will also work.
- It’s SO important to season as you go. Follow the instructions closely on when to do this. We like to season when the leeks go in, when the potatoes go in, and then when the chicken stock goes in. We add a little bit more as we puree and then season to taste at the end. They key to a complex tasting dish always, and especially in simple pureed soups is to build flavor as you go. Simply throwing salt in at the end will not adequately season the soup.
Other Creamy Soups You’ll Love
- Our Spicy Carrot Soup has a lot of the same fundamentals as today’s creamy leek and potato soup – we focus on the veggies and the broth instead of adding copious amounts of cream.
- If you want something with minimal ingredients, our 5-Ingredient Creamy Tomato and Carrot Soup is just what you’re looking for!
- I can’t get enough of our Butternut Squash Soup with Cheesy Garlic Bread Croutons.
Tools/Pretty Things Used in Today’s Post
- High power blender
- Staub pot
- West Elm Soup Bowls
- 3 large leeks, only white and light greenn parts, chopped (about 4 cups)
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- 1 large shallot, chopped
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1 3/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
- 1/4 cup dry white wine such a sauvignon blanc or chardonnay
- 1 1/2 lbs yukon gold potatoes
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- 2 T pine nuts
- Dutch oven or stock pot
- Fill a large bowl with cold water. Add leeks. Use your hands to swirl them around and let the dirt and debris fall to the ground. Remove the leeks from the water and dry them on paper towels. Set two tablespoons aside for later.
- Add 3 tablespoons butter to a large heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven. Turn the heat on medium-high. Let the butter melt, and when it starts to brown, swirl the pot. When the butter smells nutty and is a deep golden brown, turn the heat down to medium.
- Add the leeks and shallots to the butter along with 1/2 teaspoon salt. You don’t want them to get too brown, so you may have to teeter between medium and medium low depending on your stove. Let the veggies sweat for 3-4 minutes until soft. Add garlic. Cook for 1 minute. Add wine. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until slightly reduced, about 1-2 minutes. Add potatoes and another 1/4 teaspoon salt. Coat in the leeks and butter and cook another 1-2 minutes until the garlic is fragrant.
- Stir in the chicken stock and another 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 12-15 minutes.
- Carefully transfer the hot soup to a blender. Add another 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover with the lid and put a towel on top to prevent any spillage. Blend until smooth.
- Add the soup back to the pot and add in cream. Simmer another 2-3 minutes. Add vinegar. Stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with leeks and pine nuts. Drizzle with extra butter.
Brown Butter Pine Nuts
- While the soup simmers, make the brown butter pine nuts. Add the remainig 3 tablespoons butter to small skillet. Turn the heat on medium-high. Let the butter melt, and when it starts to brown, swirl the pot. When the butter smells nutty and is a deep golden brown, throw in the pine nuts and leeks. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the leeks are crispy and the nuts are slightly brown. Turn the heat off and set aside.