The Best Way To Elevate Creamy Potato Soup To New Heights

There are few things that come from the potato that aren't pure delicious decadence. Potato soup is no exception, but there is more behind this creamy soup than the tell-tale spud. A proper potato-packed soup contains nuanced layers of flavor, from luscious vegetables to rich, fatty bacon. For this luxurious taste, no ingredient contributes more to this sophisticated flavor than the leek. 

An allium with a soft, mild flavor, leeks are like onions but without the astringent bite. Though they require a thorough cleaning and prep, leeks are the classic complement to potato soup, both working to enhance a subtly earthy overall taste. In fact, leeks and potatoes are a historical soup pairing, dating back to 18th-century French cookbooks and sharing DNA with the cold version, Vichyssoise. Whether you add just a bit or enough to match the amount of potatoes, leeks bring plenty of umami-richness to the mix. So, what's the best way to add this traditional ingredient to your next batch of potato soup? 

Leeks, the allium of choice

Before you begin adding leeks to your soup, you need to address the bit of prep necessary. Like other onions, Leeks are bulbs that grow underground, allowing plenty of dirt and soil to find its way into the rings. To give them a proper clean, you can either split them down the middle and thoroughly rinse out the sand with a faucet, or you can soak and swish cut leeks in a large bowl of water, scooping them out with a sieve afterward. You'll want to use the pale green and white parts for the soup, as the dark green part will be too tough and fibrous. 

Once clean, you can use your leeks much the same way you would use onions in any other soup, sautéing them in butter or oil until tender. You can leave them as chopped fragments or puree them with an immersion blender, alongside the potatoes. An average bowl of potato soup can feature anywhere from two to four leeks, with each leek addition upping the allium flavor. No matter how many you choose to add, incorporating leeks will add much-desired oomph to your plain potato dish.