This hearty and flavorful soup is very simple to make and perfect for a cozy winter meal. The flavor of the potatoes is enriched by roasting them first and can be done ahead of time so it’ll take you only 15 minutes to make this delicious soup once you’re ready for it!
Of all the delicious food my grandmother made over the years, her potato leek soup would rank in the top 5 for me. It was so comforting, warm, lightly but deeply flavored, a bit salty and so perfect with a thick slice of fresh bread. I’ve since come up with my own vegan version which, to my delight, my daughter proclaimed as being her favorite soup after trying it.
It’s funny how food can bubble up emotions in us. The thing is, my daughter who is 5 years old is so much like my grandmother. So strong-willed and persistent, a leader, creative, improvising, social, and so complex in emotions. My grandmother was not a stereotypical granny. She was boisterous and fought for what she thought was right (or against what she thought was wrong), not intimidated to approach her political representatives demanding change. I recall her marching back into a grocery store when she had been overcharged 10 cents. It wasn’t the money, it was the principle. She worked outside the home while managing a household with 4 kids, sewed her own clothes and home furnishings, cooked and baked from scratch, stayed up to date with technology, and bought herself a sports car in her 60’s. She had an editorial column in the local newspaper, and she volunteered on projects for literacy and food accessibility. I had so much admiration for her, especially as woman who grew up in a generation in which women were not encouraged use their voices or to do as much outside the home.
While my daughter challenges me daily as she pushes and explores the limits of being a dependent child, I always try to keep my grandmother’s spirit in mind. I want to be careful to allow and to encourage my daughter to be who she is and not snuff out that bright flame she has within her. It’s such a balance of guidance, encouragement and correction, with some days being better than others. In the end I want her to speak and live her truth, and to have all the happiness in the world as any mother would want for her children.
And how lucky am I to have these generations of females around me who know their worth, living their lives vibrantly and really appreciating an amazing bowl of potato leek soup.
- 2 lbs potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 4 large leeks, cleaned and cut in 1/4" slices
- 3 ribs celery, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2-1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 tbsp miso paste
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup cashews, quick soak in simmering water for 10 min and drained
- 1 cup water
- salt, to taste
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or oil well. Once oven is preheated, toss the potatoes in 2 tbsp of olive oil on the baking tray and roast for 20-25 minutes, flipping every 10 minutes. They are done once they are easily pierced with a fork and are lightly browned.
In a large soup pot over medium heat, heat the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil. Sauté the leeks and celery until they soften, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another minute until fragrant. Stir in the thyme and black pepper.
De-glaze the pan with the white wine. Add the vegetable stock and roasted potatoes, turn the heat to high and bring to a simmer.
In the meantime, in a high-powered blender, combine the miso paste, cashews and water. Blend on high until smooth, about 2 minutes then stir into the soup pot. Turn off the heat.
Blend the soup with an immersion blender until smooth. If you don't have an immersion blender, you can use a blender - blend the soup in batches, filling the blender only about 1/2 full each time so it doesn't splatter and burn you. Thin with additional soup stock if desired; season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. Enjoy with pretty garnishes such as sliced radish, chives, sautéed leeks slices, fresh thyme, and pumpkin seeds.
This soup recipe doubles and freezes well.