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imageSoups do not get much easier than the classic French potato and leek soup. It can be served smooth or chunky and you even have a choice as to serve it hot, (in winter), as a creamy, nourishing bowl of steamy goodness, or cold, (in summer), as a refreshing and elegant starter. When served chilled it becomes the Franco-American classic, vichyssoise, which was invented in 1917 by the French chef Louis Diat, at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in New York City.

It can be accompanied by various garnishes before serving from crispy fried bacon to croutons to mushrooms and various herbs such as chives, parsley, sage, tarragon or a combination. I like it with just a sprinkle of freshly snipped chives and some black pepper.

Serves 6


2 tablespoons butter
5 or 6 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 fresh thyme sprigs
750 ml / 3 cups chicken broth
250 ml / 1 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chives, freshly snipped


Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat
Add the leeks and garlic and sautรฉ until soft but not coloured
Add the potatoes, thyme and chicken broth and bring to a boil
Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 30 to 40 minutes
Season with salt and pepper
Remove the sprig of thyme and discard
Using a stick blender or a food mill or a food processor, puree until smooth *
Add the cream and stir well
If serving it hot, garnish with your desired topping and serve immediately
If serving it chilled, allow to come to room temperature then place in the refrigerator for at least several hours or preferably overnight
Ladle the cold soup into bowls and garnish with chives

  • you can puree all the soup, or only a portion if you want to have it slightly more chunky and rustic