Chris Kearse’s Potato Soup for the Socially Distanced Soul

A rich, creamy, super-easy potato soup is the perfect vehicle for lots of cheddar cheese, sour cream and bacon.

Photo courtesy of Forsythia

As coronavirus spreads, restaurants are pivoting to takeout and delivery, relying on gift cards to serve essentially as micro-loans, and shutting down completely. In lieu of our typical restaurant coverage, we’re going to be bringing you some simple, pantry staple recipes from chefs around the city. For Angela Cicala’s incredibly comforting pasta ceci recipe, click here. For River Twice’s chili con queso, click here. For Stock’s cold peanut noodles, click here.

At Forsythia, this potato soup is dressed up with French accents, but it’s just as delicious as a comforting dinner on your couch, topped with sour cream, cheddar cheese, or crumbled bacon. If you don’t have chicken or vegetable stock, simply sub out the same quantity of lightly salted water. The soup will still be creamy and delicious.

Potato Leek Soup
Serves 4-6

3 large leeks
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
1/3 cup thinly sliced onions
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lb (about 1 large) Yukon gold potato, peeled
3 garlic cloves crushed and skin removed
6 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
1 cup heavy cream
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs parsley
2 bay leaves

  1. Cut away and discard the dark green leaves and roots from the leeks, leaving only the white and palest green sections. Cut them lengthwise and rinse in water to get rid of the dirt. Chop the leeks into 1/4 inch slices.
  2. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large saute pan, and add the leeks, onions, garlic, and shallots. Season generously with salt and pepper. Cook the vegetables over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes until softened but not browning.
  3. Cut the potato lengthwise into quarters, then cut crosswise into strips about 1/4-inch thick.
  4. Wrap the thyme, parsley, bay leaves and some fresh-ground pepper in a cheesecloth and secure with twine. Alternatively, simply tie them together with twine into a tight bundle.
  5. Add the potatoes and sachet/ herbs to cook for another 2 to 4 minutes, until potatoes are starting to brown.
  6. Add the chicken broth to the mixture. Stir, and taste to adjust seasonings as needed. Bring the pan to a simmer over high, then cover with lid and reduce heat to maintain low simmer. Cook for 30 minutes or until potatoes are very tender.
  7. When potatoes are tender, remove soup from heat and let stand 15 minutes to cool slightly, then remove herbs.
  8. Using a blender or immersion blender, puree soup until very smooth, then bring to a low simmer over medium heat. Add heavy cream and continue simmering for 5 minutes. Serve hot.