Hardly any soup could be simpler than this one, straightforward and soothing. The consistency can be varied from thick and hearty to thin and delicate. The optional watercress puree provides a variation on the basic recipe.
Servings: 6 - 8
- 1 pound all-purpose potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 pound (about 3 medium) leeks (white and tender green parts), cleaned and thinly sliced
- 2 quarts (8 cups) water
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Finely chopped parsley or chives for garnish
In a large pot over medium-high heat, bring the potatoes, leeks, water and salt almost to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes. Set aside to cool for at least 10 minutes.
Strain the vegetables, reserving the cooking liquid. Transfer the vegetables and a little of the cooking liquid to a blender or food processor and puree, or pass only the vegetables through a food mill. Return the puree to the pot and add as much of the cooking liquid as necessary to achieve the desired consistency, from 6 to 8 cups. Stir to combine. (May cover and refrigerate overnight.)
To serve, return the soup to a gentle simmer and stir in the cream. Do not boil after adding the cream. Sprinkle with parsley or chives.
To add a watercress puree: Remove and discard the stems from 2 bunches of watercress. Cook the leaves in 2 quarts (8 cups) boiling, salted water for 2 minutes. Drain the watercress in a colander and rinse immediately with cold water. Place in a blender with about 1/2 cup water and blend until smooth. Stir into the finished soup just before serving. (May substitute 6 ounces fresh spinach leaves for the watercress.)
Adapted from Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" (Knopf, 1961).
Tested by Ed Bruske.
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