French Leek soup, or vichyssoise, is a classic french soup that is often served cold. Made from potatoes, sauteed leeks, butter, and broth, this simple cream soup is mild without being bland. It takes simple root vegetables and prepares them in such a way that they truly shine. Although it is more classical to serve french potato leek soup cold, it can be enjoyed hot as well.
I remember the first time I made this soup, it was during my first few weeks of culinary school. I was so excited to be learning in an industrial kitchen with trained chefs. The kitchen was always fully stocked with ingredients and tools. I was living my Food Network loving dream!
Despite the plethora of pots, pans, and other tools, I remember that there weren’t any lids for any of the pots. I never really figured out why, but we never had to use them. On the off chance that we did, we would just use sheet pan as a lid. To this day, I don’t often use lids when cooking. It was trained out of me, I guess.
Soup as a way to use up a lot of potatoes...
One of the main things we learned at the start of school was different knife cuts. We had to perfect all types of slicing, dicing, and mincing. And we did that practice using potatoes! Vichyssoise was the perfect recipe to use up all the diced potatoes we found ourselves with. Because potato leek soup is blended up anyway, it didn't matter that all of the potatoes were cut into varying sizes!
I still have the print out that we used as a recipe to follow, but I have adjusted it slightly here. As I said before, the original soup we made was classic “Vichyssoise,” a French soup that is traditionally served cold. Although this soup could definitely be served cold and thin, I find it more accessible to serve it warm and with more texture. Whatever your preference is- go for it!
What does Vichyssoise mean?
Vichy is a region in France and Vichyssoise comes from the feminine vichyssois or "of vichy."
- thinly sliced leeks
- russet potatoes
- chicken stock
- heavy cream
Split leeks lengthwise and wash to remove any grit. Slice thinly, using mostly the white parts and only a few inches of the green.
Sweat leeks and minced garlic in butter over medium heat, but do not brown.
Add in diced potatoes and chicken stock and let simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through.
Turn off heat and pulse with an immersion blender until you reach your desired thickness (I like it to be a little chunky).
Add in heavy cream and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I am normally one to avoid unnecessary gadgets and to keep my small kitchen appliances to a minimum. However, an immersion blender is truly a helpful tool and is well loved in my kitchen. Using an immersion blender makes blending leek potato soup easy and cuts down on mess and extra dishes. The brand I like is Cuisanart. I always use it when making kotosoupa avgolemono, as well.
If you don't have an immersion blender, you can put the potato & leek soup in a regular blender or use a potato masher, for a similar effect.
Consistency of cream of potato and leek soup
Traditionally this vichyssoise is very thin and well blended without any chunks. When you blend your soup you can blend it fully or you can choose to leave it more chunky. It is a matter of preference.
Make it Vegetarian
This leek and potato soup recipe can easily be made vegetarian by subbing out the chicken broth for vegetable broth.
Deepen leek flavor
Leeks on their own carry a very gentle onion flavor. This is what makes the soup so delicate and makes it palatable as a cold soup. If you would like to deepen up the flavor of the leeks, add in a diced onion and saute that alongside the leeks. French Onion Leek Soup it is!
For a heartier recipe using leeks, try this Harissa Spiced Chicken with Leeks.
Store this soup in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Serve cold or warm.
This soup can be frozen in an airtight container, as well.
French Leek Soup
- 3 tbsp. butter
- 2 leeks mostly the white parts thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 2 russet potatoes peeled and diced
- 4 cups chicken stock
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ tsp. pepper
- Split leeks lengthwise and wash to remove any grit. Slice thinly, using mostly the white parts and only a few inches of the green.
- Sweat leeks and minced garlic in butter, but do not brown.
- Add in diced potatoes and chicken stock and let simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through.
- Turn off heat and pulse with an immersion blender until you reach your desired thickness (I like it to be a little chunky).
- Add in heavy cream and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste.