A popular German cheese and leek soup with ground pork, a thick and savory dish that everybody loves.
This German cheese and leek soup is one of my mother-in-law's signature dishes, just like the German Beef Soup with Marrow Dumplings or the Salad “Torte”, that is: a dish I have eaten more often in her house than in my own.
It was one of the first dishes I have ever eaten upon arriving in Germany, and, ever since, I have eaten it more often than I could count, not only in my mother-in-law's house but in some of my neighbors' and friends' houses as well, most people I know make it on a regular basis.
What do you need?
This German cheese soup with pork and leeks is very easy to make; it needs only a few cheap ingredients. Still, due to the cheese and meat, it is so extremely filling that one relatively small pot goes a long way, which means you can feed quite a few people with it; most of them will be full after one bowl and will not take seconds.
But not because it's not good; it is absolutely delicious; no wonder it has been such a hit around here for more than 30 years now; my mother-in-law told me she got the recipe sometime in the 1980s.
- Leeks are super popular in Germany; you can buy them at any time of the year, and they are always huge and very cheap. If you like them, you should try this Simple Bacon Potato and Leek Soup or the Romanian Leek and Black Olive Stew: they are amazing.
How to clean leeks?
- Leeks are easy to work with; cleaning them is the only thing you must pay special attention to.
- They have many layers, and dirt finds its way deep inside the layers, at the transition between the white and the green part of the vegetable. Separate the layers and thoroughly wash the leek in between the layers.
- Put the tip of a small sharp knife about 1 cm/ 0.4 inches below the beginning of the green part, just before the transition of the two colors, where the leek begins to open.
- Slit from there to the end of the green part without cutting it all the way through.
- Carefully fan open the layers without taking the stalk apart. Rinse under running water until all the dirt is removed.
- You will need the spreadable, soft, melted cheese that comes in triangles. It is called Schmelzkäse in Germany, meaning melting cheese. I actually had to ask somebody living in America about this kind of cheese because I didn't know what it is called there.
- The answer was funny: laughing cow cheese (Amazon affiliate link). It probably comes from one brand selling this kind of cheese.
- Buy the original flavor or something like cheddar flavor.
- My mother-in-law always cooks this recipe with the so-called “Mett,” which is ground pork spiced with salt, pepper, a bit of garlic, and a little caraway. Mett is usually sold to be eaten raw with buns and onions. Not my thing, I have to say.
- However, I like cooked Mett in this combination; it is basically just spiced ground pork. If you don't live in Germany, you will probably not be able to buy Mett, so use plain ground pork instead.
How to make leek cheese soup with pork?
- Clean the leeks very thoroughly, as instructed above. Chop. Chop the onion as well.
- Heat the oil in a large pot.
- Fry the meat until brown; add ground caraway, garlic, some salt, and pepper. If using Mett, you will not have to spice the meat.
- Add the chopped veggies and cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Add broth and bring to a simmer.
- Cook for about 20 minutes or until soft.
- Add the cheese broken into small pieces to the soup and stir very well until completely smooth with no lumps of cheese remaining.
- Let simmer for a couple of minutes. The dish is supposed to be very thick, but you could add a bit more broth if you find it too thick.
- Adjust the taste with salt and ground black pepper. Be generous with the pepper.
- Sprinkle with chopped chives.
How to serve the cheesy leek soup?
This ground pork leek dish is a meal in itself; you will not need much on the side except some bread. You can serve it with crusty white bread, sourdough bread, or dinner rolls.
The dish is a very popular choice for party food in Germany. I cannot even count the many times I was served this at one party or another, it's easy to make, very filling, cheap, and everybody loves it!
The following ingredients are enough for about 6 people, but the soup can be easily doubled or tripled. You just have to find a pot that is large enough...
The recipe can be made in advance and reheated.
German Cheese and Leek Soup with Ground Pork
- 3 large leeks
- 1 onion
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 350 g ground pork 12.5 oz, Note 1
- a pinch of ground caraway
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 liter vegetable broth 4 cups
- 300 g laughing cow cheese 10.5 oz, Note 2
- fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- small bunch of chives
- Clean the leeks: Wash, top, and tail them, discarding the wilted dark green ends (about 1 inch/ 2 cm). Slice them lengthwise, starting at the transition between the white and the green part and moving the knife towards the top of the plant.
- Wash leeks: Fan open the layers without taking the leek apart and rinse under cold running water until all the dirt is removed.
- Chop leeks and onion. Set aside.3 large leeks, 1 onion
- Fry ground pork: Heat the oil and fry the ground pork until brown, add a pinch of ground caraway, the grated garlic clove, and some salt and pepper. If using Mett, you will not have to spice the meat.1 tablespoon oil, 350 g/ 12.5 oz ground pork
- Add the leeks and the onion and cook, stirring well a few times in between, for 3-4 minutes.
- Simmer soup: Add vegetable broth and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the leeks are soft.1 liter/ 4 cups vegetable broth
- Add cheese: Break the cheese triangles into smaller pieces and add them to the soup. Stir very well until the soup is completely smooth and there are no cheese clumps inside it anymore.Let simmer for a couple of minutes. The soup is supposed to be very thick, but you could add a bit more broth if you find too thick.300 g/ 10.5 oz laughing cow cheese
- Adjust the taste with salt and generously with freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle with chopped chives and serve with bread.
- If cooking the soup in Germany, you can buy Mett.
- Sahneschmelzkäse in Germany.