Potatoes and leeks: a classic combination that’s impossible not to love! They also make for one of the most universally loved soups.
A low-calorie version of this classic soup, but still so creamy!
The classic potato-leek soup, though, has a mind-boggling amount of heavy cream in it. So in this version, I omit the heavy cream altogether and replace it with a dollop of crème fraîche. The soup turns out much lighter in both calories and texture, while the delicate flavor of the Yukon Gold potatoes is allowed to shine. But that’s not all… I also love to dress it up with parsley pesto crostini and a drizzle of white truffle oil.
This luscious soup is always a hit at my dinner parties, and for good reason: it smells heavenly, looks gorgeous and tastes even better!
Served cold, this soup closely resembles the French favorite Vichyssoise
Note: Here I serve the soup warm. But you can also serve it chilled, as a Vichyssoise. See “Viviane’s tip” below for instructions.
Food & wine pairing: Chardonnay with potato-leek soup
If you serve this soup warm, then a Chardonnay works wonderfully – but it must be from a warmer region, like Mâconnais in Burgundy or Napa in California. If you decide to serve this soup chilled, as a Vichyssoise, then a Chardonnay from a cool climate like Chablis in northern Burgundy or Marlborough, New Zealand, works well. A Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre, in the Loire Valley, is also a good match.
Yukon Gold potato-leek soup with parsley pesto crostini
active time: 40 min
For the parsley pesto
- 1 small bunch fresh Italian parsley (2 oz) (55 g) – tough stems trimmed
- 1 garlic clove – skinned
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated Reggiano Parmesan
- 2 tablespoons blanched sliced almonds
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
For the soup
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium Vidalia onion – skinned and cut in 1/4″ pieces
- 2 large leeks – green leaves trimmed off (keep white and pale green parts only), halved lengthwise, thoroughly rinsed and cut in 1/8″ slices (4 cups)
- 2 garlic cloves – skinned and finely chopped
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/4 lbs (565 g) Yukon Gold potatoes – peeled and cut in 1″ cubes
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 2 to 2 1/2 cups spring water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon crème fraîche
- 8 baguette slices – 1/4″ thick
- white truffle oil for drizzling
- Step 1: To make the pesto – Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Process for 1 to 2 minutes until the mixture forms a creamy paste, scraping the sides of the bowl once or twice. Transfer to a container. Use right away, refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.
- Step 2: Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and onions, stir well and sauté for 5 minutes until softened, stirring only from time to time. Add the leeks and continue to sauté for 5 to 6 minutes until the onions start to turn golden. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds until it releases its flavor, but don’t let it brown. Then add the wine. Mix well and continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the wine has reduced to a syrupy sauce. Add the potatoes, the stock, 2 cups of spring water and the salt and pepper, then bring to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce heat to medium/medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes until the potatoes are very tender. Purée the soup with a stick blender or food processor until smooth and thin, and add the balance of the spring water to the desired consistency. Turn off the heat, add the crème fraîche and stir until well blended. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.
- Cook’s note: The soup can be cooled and refrigerated for up to 3 days, but omit the crème fraîche and only add it to the soup once it has been reheated and is ready to serve.
- Step 3: Toast the baguette slices under a broiler until golden-brown on both sides. Spoon about 1 heaping teaspoon of parsley pesto onto each crostino. Ladle the soup in soup bowls and garnish each soup with two crostini. Drizzle with a little truffle oil and serve immediately.
- Although in this recipe the soup is served warm, it’s equally delicious served chilled, as a Vichyssoise. Here are a couple of tips if you decide to serve this soup chilled:
- – Thin the soup with a little extra spring water (1/2 cup or more). The potatoes will absorb some liquid as the soup sits in the refrigerator to cool, and a chilled soup tastes better when it’s not too thick. Chill the soup for at least 4 hours (but preferably overnight) before serving it.
- – Omit the bread and spoon the parsley pesto directly in the center of the soup. (The warm soup softens the crostini, but the chilled soup won’t.) It’ll make for a more refined offering.