Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Leek-Potato Soup #recipe @LeslieBudewitz

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: You might call it Potato-Leek Soup, but I’m channeling Julia Child today and she calls it Leek-Potato! We’ve been watching Julia’s 1985 “Way to Cook” videos, learning or relearning the simple but classic techniques she uses—everything from how to dice an onion or julienne carrots to boning a chicken. (Anyone who knows me well is laughing—I only shop at the boneless chicken ranch.) 

I love Julia’s honesty and her attitude. She isn’t precious about food. She loves cooking and eating and she is absolutely certain that anyone can learn to cook well. And when you watch her, you believe her. Because she’s Julia. 

French cooking carries a mysterious air, as if it’s all inscrutable technique or dishes that take all day. But it’s also good home-cooking. The amazing Dorie Greenspan, who writes cookbooks and often writes columns for the New York Times and is clearly steeped in the Julia Child tradition, says when Frenchmen were asked their favorite food in a survey, the winner was lentil soup. Probably more precisely, “my mother’s lentil soup.” 

I’ll save that one for later post. Today, it’s another simple classic, leek-potato. Or potato-leek.

A word about cleaning leeks: They look all shiny, like a day filled with white clouds and fresh green grass. Don’t be fooled. Tiny bits of sand and grit hide in those stalks. To clean them, trim the root end, then trim the greens so your leek is 6-7 inches long. Then slit it in half lengthwise, keeping the leaves intact. Rinse each half under cold running water, using your thumbs to spread the leaves and get the water into those hiding places. You may also toss the sliced leeks into a colander and give them another good rinse.

Serve with a simple green salad, a loaf of bread, and a glass of wine. Voilà!

Leek and Potato Soup

adapted from Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime of Cooking, by Julia Child

3 cups sliced leeks (white and tender greens, about 4 leeks)
3 cups Russet potatoes, peeled and chopped (about 3 small or 2 medium potatoes)
6 cups vegetable broth
1-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup sour cream or crème fraîche
dill, dried or fresh, for garnish

Place leeks, potatoes, broth, and salt in a stockpot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover partially until vegetables are tender, about 20-30 minutes. Taste and add salt, if necessary. 

Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to puree the soup to your preferred thickness. (We like to leave some chunks.) Or use a standard blender to puree in batches; you may need to reheat the soup if you puree this way. 

Ladle into bowls and top each with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of dill. 

Makes about 2 quarts, or 6-8 servings.


From the cover of THE SOLACE OF BAY LEAVES, Spice Shop Mystery #5, out now in paperback, e-book and audio (Seventh St. Books and Tantor Audio) : 

Pepper Reece never expected to find solace in bay leaves. 

But when her life fell apart at forty and she bought the venerable-but-rundown Spice Shop in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, her days took a tasty turn. Now she’s savoring the prospect of a flavorful fall and a busy holiday cooking season, until danger bubbles to the surface ... 

Between managing her shop, worrying about her staff, and navigating a delicious new relationship, Pepper’s firing on all burners. But when her childhood friend Maddie is shot and gravely wounded, the incident is quickly tied to an unsolved murder that left another close friend a widow. 

Convinced that the secret to both crimes lies in the history of a once-beloved building, Pepper uses her local-girl contacts and her talent for asking questions to unearth startling links between the past and present—links that suggest her childhood friend may not have been the Golden Girl she appeared to be. Pepper is forced to face her own regrets and unsavory emotions, if she wants to save Maddie’s life—and her own. 

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries, and the winner of Agatha Awards in three categories. Death al Dente, the first Food Lovers' Village Mystery, won Best First Novel in 2013, following her 2011 win in Best Nonfiction. Her first historical short story, "All God's Sparrows," won the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story. Watch for her first standalone suspense novel, Bitterroot Lake (written as Alicia Beckman) in April 2021 from Crooked Lane Books.

A past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.


  1. Love St. Julia of Child! And I am going to make this soup today! PS:Wonderful description of leeks

  2. Comfort food! Nothing better on a cold day. Thanks, Leslie!

  3. Lovely recipe, Leslie! Julie Child still rocks the kitchen and never disappoints. Hugs.

    1. Right? She makes you feel like it's easy and of course you can do it, whatever the dish is!

  4. I've gotten some of those videos from the library. Classics! Loved seeing her kitchen at the Smithsonian.

    1. I'm eager to see it -- field trip on the next trip to Malice, maybe. 2022.

  5. Her latest cookbook was a regular gift from my husband for years.
    My parents gave me a copy of Mastering the Art...as a wedding present.

    This sounds lovely.
    She would have tasted it with "an impeccably clean spoon"! (People had given her trouble about reusing a spoon for tasting while filming. This was her response.) Bless her.

  6. Hi Leslie, I love anything with leeks and leek and potato soup is one of my favorites! This looks delicious.

    1. Aren't they wonderful? I saw them in the grocery store today and was so tempted -- but I know the dangers of unplanned vegetables!

  7. I love leek-potato soup, but you're right, leeks are gritty little suckers! We're having the kind of weather that makes me crave a pot of simple satisfying soup like this.