In 2018, Alton Brown unleashed on the world a new series “Good Eats Reloaded“. Alton made 13 episodes going back over this previous shows and make renovations to them. New recipes were added, information was changed, and puppets were harmed in the process – yes puppets, sorry puppet lovers.
In the spirit of the Reloaded mindset I am going back over old posts on this blog and give them their own reload. What better way to do that then update this Potato Leek Soup Recipe Review I originally posted back in 2010.
The parts of the original post are in quotes.
There are many things that I passed in the grocery aisles for years, before I started to learn to cook.
Many green item I did not consider in the produce section such as cabbage, kale, collard greens, and the leek. The leek came off this list, when I saw Alton Brown in the episode “Sprung a Leek” use them in making a potato soup. Below is my notes from making this soup.
Back in 2010, I was still just learning to cook and use more ingredients. Things as simple as cabbage were foreign to me. Hard to believe now.
1. The first time I made this soup I did not have any Yukon Gold potatoes on hand, so I had to use Russet. It still produced a good tasting soup, but the Yukon Gold add a buttery taste to the soup, so I would buy them.
I have never used a Russet potato to make this soup since, only that time. Gold potatoes work so much better in this soup. Save your Russet for baked potatoes.
2. Buy whole white peppercorns for this soup and grind them in a spice (coffee) grinder. I also like to add a couple pinches of white pepper to my bowl when serving. The white pepper really makes this soup. It brings a great depth of flavor to the party.
Man, do I love white pepper in this soup.
3. The recipe calls for vegetable broth. I used Better than Bouillon Vegetable base, which you mix with the appropriate amount of water (it says on the side of the container).
Um NOPE. I have not bought vegetable broth or any kind of base in years. Vegetable broth is so easy to make at home, in a very short time. Just save veggies scraps.
I have actually made it before using chicken broth (it’s really good with Kettle & Fire Chicken Bone Broth). My wife isn’t a huge fan of vegetable broth.
Bottom line, you want a base for your liquid base for your soup that has got some flavor packing. Not water.
4. I usually do a half recipe when making it. I found with a half recipe I usually get about 3-4 servings.
My family is too big now for half recipes of anything!
5. My daughter loves this soup and she is two years old!!! Little does she know that she ate leeks.
She is 10 now. Almost 11.
6. For the dairy, I don’t always have cream or buttermilk on hand. So I have used different combination of milk or half and half. Cream is best and will create a thicker soup. But if you want to cut out the fat or save some dough, then you can just use milk, the soup will still be good, just not as thick. I have never actually used buttermilk in it before, but I will try it next time.
I have now tried it with buttermilk. It’s a must. The soup has a deeper flavor when you use buttermilk. The tang is a welcome addition.
My family loves this soup. It is easy to make and I can find all the ingredients without trouble. The leeks add a nice touch to the soup without being overpowering. I prefer leeks over onions, plus with leeks, no tears! The addition of the white pepper is what really does it for me. I never expected I would really like this soup, but I do. It makes a great lunch, appetizer for dinner, or even a main course along with some kind of greens.A
This soup got me into two different ingredients – leeks and white pepper, that I use now in several other recipes. Those are the kinds of recipes I love, ones that introduce you to ingredients you didn’t use before.
I believe I have improved the soup now by adding bacon to it. Alton, why wasn’t there bacon in it before? The smokiness of the bacon is such a nice touch. If you omit the bacon, then maybe a good smoked sea salt would be a nice finishing touch.
Alton Brown’s Potato Leek Soup with Bacon
This recipe is for Alton Brown’s Potato Leek Soup. In my version I have added bacon to it. You’re welcome. Off course if you want to leave the bacon out and use vegetable stock you can make the soup vegetarian. The instructions have been written in my own words.
- 1 pound leeks, cleaned with white parts only
- 4 slices cooked smoked bacon chopped
- 3 TBSP butter
- 14 ounces gold potatoes peeled and cubed
- 1 quart chicken or vegetable broth/stock
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground white pepper
- kosher salt to taste
Cut the green parts off the leeks. Cut the roots off making sure the leeks sections are still connected at the very bottom.
Run the leeks under water to remove any dirt or debris.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, then add the leeks with a heavy pinch of kosher salt.
Cook the leeks for 5 mintues. Turn the heat down if the leeks are starting to get too brown.
Decrease the heat to just above low and cook for 20 mintues or until leeks are tender. Stir occasionally, and check to make sure they don’t burn.
Add the potatoes and broth to the pan. Increase heat to bring just to a boil.
Decrease the heat to low and simmer the potatoes for 45 minutes. Increase or decrease the heat to keep the potatoes at a simmer.
Remove the pot from the heat. If you want a smooth soup puree it completely. If you want a more chunky soup, remove some of the soup to a bowl, puree it and add it back in.
Stir in the heavy cream, buttermilk, bacon, white pepper. Taste and then add more salt to taste. Serve.
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