Potage Parmentier, leek and potato soup, is simplicity at it's finest. It comforts, soothes the tummy, warms the body, smells delicious, is both delicate and hearty, and lends itself to endless variation. Learn to make a good potage parmentier, and you've mastered a recipe for which you will find many sophisticated uses, and eager appetites.
This recipe, with few variations, is based upon Julia Child's Potage Parmentier, in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1 by Child, Louisett Bertholle, and Simone Beck.
- 3 to 4 cups or 1 lb peeled potatoes, sliced or diced
- 3 cups or 1 lb thinly sliced leeks including the tender green ends
- 2 quarts of chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 Tb salt
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 to 3 Tb minced chives
- optional, (but ohsogood) aged balsamic vinegar, and/or a spoonful of creme fraiche to garnish.
Simmer the vegetables, water, and salt together, partially covered, for 40 to 50 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
Mash the vegetables in the soup with a fork or potato masher, or pass the soup through a food mill, for an ultra-smooth bowlful. Correct seasoning, adding salt and white pepper as needed. Set aside uncovered until just before serving, then reheat to the simmer.
Off heat and just before serving, stir in the cream by spoonfuls. Pour into a tureen or soup bowls and garnish with the herbs, creme fraiche, or balsamic vinegar, or all three.
Have you ever tried a trickle of good aged balsamic vinegar in your soups? Give it a try. It livens the flavors without changing the profile of the soup. I've taken to adding a smidgen of vinegars, such as herbed, wine, champagne, rice wine, apple cider, and balsamic to all of my soups. It wakes them up with a gentle nudge, and reduces the need for additional salting, too.