Irish Potato Leek Soup

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
Mar 15, 2015 / 0 comments

We all know that Ireland's symbol is the shamrock, but did you also know that there's a second symbol? It's the humble, and ever so delicious leek! Legend says that St Patrick was praying with a dying woman, when she had a dream about a certain vegetable. She told him about her vision, he guessed that it looked like rushes, and he prayed and transformed some rushes into leeks. She ate them, and was cured. (St Patrick is also known to have loved a dish called Kings Soup - a combination of leeks and oats.) Since then, the Irish know the leek to be a food with almost miracle powers (so do the Welsh, but that's another story). They are loaded with antioxidants and vitamins.


St Patrick, St. James' Church, Glenbeigh, County Kerry, Ireland

Detail of stained glass window in the north-west wall of the transept, depicting Saint Patrick. The opposite window from the same studio is signed Earley Studios, Dublin, 1954. St. James' Church, Glenbeigh, County Kerry, Ireland. Wikimedia Commons: Andreas F. Borchert


Want to turn your leeks into something delicious? One of our favorite dishes with leeks is Irish Potato Leek Soup.


Irish potato leek soup recipe


It's easy, it can be adjusted, and it is extremely delicious!


Irish potato leek soup recipe


Note: Leeks look like giant green onions. You cut off the top green part and just eat the white and light green part. Cut off the dark green stuff, cut it in half lenghtwise, and wash that very well under running water. Then slice down the middle of the lighter green and white end, and separate everything to wash that, too. Leeks are known for harboring dirt, so rinse it away.


Irish potato leek soup recipe - how to clean leeks


Irish Potato Leek Soup



2 leeks, prepared as noted above
8 medium size potatoes, peeled and chopped into pieces
4 T butter

8 cups water (or more)
chicken stock base (I use Penzey's), to taste
Salt, to taste

Optional and delicious toppings:
Grated sharp cheddar cheese
Crumbled bacon pieces
Chopped chives



In a large pot, put in the 8 cups of water and the well-washed leek greens. Boil this for 20 minutes or so. You're creating the foundation for your broth.


cooking leeks to make a broth for potato leek soup


Chop washed leeks into small half moons.


chopped leeks for potato leek soup


Melt the butter in a large pan. Add in leeks, and cook on medium-low until they reduce by 2/3 or so. They will have lovely little brown bits and be warm and soft.


cooking leeks for potato leek soup

Not done yet!


cooking leeks for potato leek soup


Add in the potatoes.


chopped potatoes. potato leek soup recipe


Drain the leek greens water into this pot, and discard the cooked leek greens. Add in some chicken stock base. If you're using real chicken stock, you can either heat it up with the greens and then discard the greens, or just add it in and forget the greens.


adding broth to potatos and leeks. Potato leek soup recipe


Cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork.

Now you want to blend the soup. You can do it in your food processor, your blender, or with a stick blender. BE CAREFUL! It's hot! In our blender, I do it in batches.

Note: if you process the soup too much, the potatoes will get gummy. Only mix it as much as you need to, to get it smooth - not a second more.


In the blender! potato leek soup recipe


Potato leek soup recipe


Return to stove, reheat, and serve with your optional toppings, if desired.




Happy St Patrick's Day!







All photos courtesy and copyright Jessie Voigts, unless noted