In an earlier post describing Petrale Sole Meuniere, I mentioned my childhood memory of enjoying a potage of potato and leek soup when dining with my parents while traveling in France. It was this memory that led to this exploration of pureed potato and leek soup – or Potage Permentier. So named after a Frenchman who vigorously promoted potatoes as a food source.
Potato leek soup can be served as a rustic version where the mixture of sliced vegetables is cooked in broth and served. The rustic version, which is not pureed with cream, is known as Potage Parisien. I have made this simple recipe many times. The resulting soup is both hearty and heartwarming. Great for when the fog rolls in.
This, however, is the first time I have made the pureed version of potato leek soup, so it is a small adventure. The recipe is this same as the rustic version described above pureed with the addition of heavy cream, Crème Fraich and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Here, it is garnished with crisp strips of Prosciutto de Parma.
Two things inspired me to make this soup on this particular weekend. First, was the aforementioned childhood memory of dining with my parents while traveling through France. Second, was I had some excellent leftover Brodo in the freezer.
The recipes for Potage Permentier normally ask for either vegetable broth, light chicken broth or simply water. Using the Brodo makes a richer and more complex version of this soup. Now, while I would not go to the trouble of making a homemade broth just for this soup, I will say that for me, it elevated this dish from good to great.
I learned a little bit more about seasoning making this soup. These days I lightly season during every step of preparation and then adjust seasoning at the end by adding a bit more salt and pepper. The Brodo I used here was unsalted and I had added only very little salt and pepper during the process of cooking the potatoes and leeks.
As a result, when I first tasted the soup after processing to a puree it was bland and I was worried it would be a big disappointment. I added a generous pinch of salt and a bit of black pepper and tried the soup again. It was better but … I then added another pinch of salt and some black pepper. I tried the soup again and it was amazing. The taste of the original, nearly unsalted version and the adjusted soup at the end were not even comparable. Proper seasoning does make a huge difference in the final outcome it seems.
The recipe here makes 3-4 servings.
- 2 medium trimmed leeks – white and light green portions cut in half, sliced and held in cold water
- 3 to 4 Yukon Gold potatoes depending on size – peeled, cut into a medium dice and held in cold water. (The idea here is to have roughly equal amounts of sliced potatoes and leeks.)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 2 cups broth – this version uses a homemade Italian style broth, but a packaged light chicken or vegetable broth can be substituted.
- ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup Crème Fraich (sour cream could be substituted in a pinch)
- 2 slices of Prosciutto de Parma (It must not be so thin that it cannot be cleanly sliced.)
- ½ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Drain sliced leeks and add to the butter sautéing until the leeks begin to turn tender – about 5 minutes. Add garlic and potatoes to the pan and continue cooking with the leeks for 5 additional minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add 2 cups of broth to the saucepan containing the leek and potato mixture. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Cover and let cook 20 minutes, or until the potatoes and leek are softened. After 20 minutes remove pan from heat and let cool before pureeing. (At this point the seasonings could be adjusted and the soup can be served as a rustic version or Potage Parisien.)
- While the soup mixture cools stack the slices of prosciutto, roll then and then slice in a ¼” strips (chiffonade style). Sauté the prosciutto strip in a pan with 1 tablespoon of oil until crispy then drain on a paper towel until ready to use.
- Add heavy cream and Crème Fraich to the soup mixture and puree until smooth mixture using an immersion blender, countertop blender (in batches) or a food processor.
- Return the pureed mixture to a saucepan and gently reheat. Add fresh lemon juice and adjust seasonings to taste
- To serve ladle soup into bowls, place crisped prosciutto in the center of the bowl as garnish and sprinkle lightly with chopped parsley.