This is an update of a post from 2011, in my earliest days of blogging and certainly before I knew anything about food photography. But that doesn’t really matter because all you need to know is that this Potato Leek Chowder is a simple, fast and delicious soup that belongs in your repertoire.
Leek and potato soup is a Belgian’s dream come true. And if that doesn’t mean anything to you, all you need to know is that it’s incredibly easy to make, tasty and hearty.
Classic Belgian Cooking: Potatoes and Leeks
Growing up with Flemish parents, potatoes were a big deal in our house. And so were leeks. My mother used to grow them in the garden, and we had them often in soups and stews. Although leeks can be an elegant and refined ingredient, they were just an everyday food in my childhood home.
Potato Leek Chowder
I’ve been making this soup since my first child was a toddler, but it’s my third who’s taken a real shine to it. When Meredith still lived at home, sometimes she’d have it ready when I got home from work. Way to get in Mum’s good books!
I haven’t referred to the recipe in years, but when I checked it out today in Jane Brody’s Good Food Book I was a little surprised to see that I really haven’t deviated from the original much at all. She does call for a sprinkling of chopped parsley and cheddar cheese in the bowl, but I’ve never used those. We like it just as it is here.
Talk about easy — it’s potatoes, leeks, some vegetable or chicken broth, pepper and a little milk at the end. And, it’s fast to prepare. About 15 minutes prepping the veggies (see the recipe note for the secret of cleaning leeks), 20 minutes on the stove, and a few more to finish. If no one has it ready for you when you get home from work, you can whip it up for yourself and sit down to enjoy it no more than 45 minutes after walking in the door.
A Bowl of Comfort
Potato Leek Chowder is a bowl of comfort for my family. If you’d like to see a more refined version, check out my Creamy Leek and Potato Soup.
This recipe makes a thick and hearty, chowder-like soup. But it's really up to you how thick you want it. You can add more broth or water during the cooking, or extra milk at the end if you want a thinner soup. Or purée it to a totally smooth consistency if you don't like the texture of chunks of potato and leeks. Total gratitude to Jane Brody for her Potato-Leek Chowder in her Good Food Book; it's the inspiration behind this lightly-adapted version and the hundreds of bowls of it I've served over the years.
- 3 large leeks white and pale green parts only (see Note)
- 3 large baking (Idaho) potatoes
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (grapeseed or other cooking oil)
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1.5 cups milk (your choice of fat content)
Peel the potatoes and wash. Cut off one slice about a half-inch thick, then set the potato on the flat side to continue cutting slices. Lay these flat and cut in batons as if you were making french fries. Then cut these into dice, about 1/2 inch long.
Heat the oil in a large pot, then sauté the leeks and potatoes with the ground pepper and salt. Stir frequently. You want them to sweat, but not to brown.
Add the broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
Using a potato masher or immersion blender, mush up or puree all or some of the mixture. I like to use my immersion blender to puree about 2/3 of it, leaving the rest chunky.
Stir in the milk, check for seasonings, and serve. This is a great soup with a sandwich for a light meal. It also makes a lovely starter for dinner. Enjoy!
Note: These days, I cut off as little of the dark green leeks as possible — why waste good food? I remove only the toughest and most battered parts.
To clean leeks, slice them lengthwise (cut them in half first if that makes things easier for you). You’ll see that the leek is composed of interlocking rings. Spread these open a bit and run under cold water to rinse out any dirt that’s trapped inside. Lay the leek pieces flat side down, and slice to the desired size. Rinse again well in a colander and shake to drain.
Other Simple Soups
Craving soup with a minimal investment of time and effort? Check out my Curried Cream of Broccoli Soup, Golden Cauliflower Soup and Creamy Parsnip and Sweet Potato Soup, then get out the soup pot!
First published 2011 12 04
Republished 2019 10 31
That soup is so good for the hunger and the soul…what delicious flavour!!!
Thank you. It’s a really meaningful recipe for me since it connects me to my family heritage and because my daughter likes making it so much too. Mar
It was much better than when I make it. I had it for lunch 3 days. So quick and easy to heat up while trying to take care of two under two. And it’s delicious and nutritious 🙂
Glad you enjoyed the soup and it saved you some work. I think you liked mine so much because you didn’t have time to make it yourself! Just like yours used to when I got home from work and you had it ready for me. It was so gratifying to feed it to the Little Miss the other day and see how much she liked it too – the tradition passes along! Luv, Mum
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Oh myyyyyy this is sooo yummy looking. I do love soup. I made a lasagna soup last week in my slow cooker. surprised myself 🙂
That lasagna soup sounds delicious! I have all kinds of the ‘thinner’ version of this leek soup in the freezer now … made 22 cups of it on the weekend!
I love potato-based soups! While in New Zealand 8 yrs ago in a grocery store, they typically have a dozen varieties of potatoes with explanations of each potato. I was amazed! My favorite (unavailable here in the USA) is the Moonlight potato. You’ve never tasted a potato as incredibly tasty as this potato! What a shame the USA doesn’t offer the same array of all those tasty potatoes . . . . see this link . . . https://www.wilcoxgoodness.co.nz/helpful-info/guides-and-varieties/potatoes
Hi Terri – I don’t eat many potatoes these days but I certainly love them. How great to find so many varieties in NZ! These days I’m enjoying the Little Potato brand as a treat — tiny, delicious potatoes that so tasty! Pototoes are great ingredients in soups … they add so much creaminess, texture and general satisfaction! Mmmm, maybe I’ll heat up some soup for lunch.
A double-whammy cold front today and tomorrow all thru the USA and most likely Canada too, good time to heat up some soup 🙂
Definitely good soup weather!
great soup anytime but especially today halloween very wet and getting colder not nice for the little kiddies treating or trick..
Yes, soup is so comforting in weather like this! Mom and Dad liked this one too.