A filling Irish potato soup, making soup can hardly get any easier or cheaper. This traditional recipe uses just a few ingredients like potatoes, leeks, and milk, yet the result is rich, creamy and completely satisfying.
IRISH POTATO LEEK SOUP
Ireland and potatoes. Even if you don’t know much about the country, you probably think of potatoes when you think about Ireland. And the Irish potato soup is probably the most cooked potato dish in Ireland…
Together with the Colcannon, I suppose, I think I’ve seen even more recipes for the Irish potato and cabbage dish than I’ve seen for potato soups.
The potato was introduced to Ireland some time during the 16th century and their cultivation spread quickly. Potatoes soon became a staple food for the rural population in Ireland.
Fun fact: they were not very popular from the very beginning, one reason for it being that the clerics considered the potatoes to come from the devil! The reasoning behind it was that they grew underground.
The potato is also the main reason why people with Irish origins are so widely spread all over the world, and especially in North America. The Great Famine, which lasted for 3 years during the 1840s caused the death of millions of people and the emigration of some more millions.
The very traditional recipe is made with potatoes, onions, milk or cream, salt, and pepper. However, a super common addition is leeks.
The leeks and the potatoes are often paired in the Irish kitchen, they both grow easily in Ireland, they are cheap and taste delicious when combined.
I strongly recommend using the leeks, they elevate a regular potato soup to a new level, you will not want to miss their sweetness, the extra flavor they add to the soup.
What are the best potatoes to use?
- Ideally, you will use a mealy potato sort to make a creamy, pureed potato soup, something like Russet or Idaho.
- You could also use all-purpose, which have a medium starch content, somewhere in between starchy and waxy potatoes, for instance, Yukon Gold.
- Whatever you do, don’t use a waxy sort, they are great for salads and many other dishes, but not so great for making soup.
- Other needed ingredients are vegetable or chicken stock, onions, garlic, butter, milk or cream (or a mixture of the both), salt and pepper.
- I added a little nutmeg as well, not traditional, but a spice I almost always add when making mashed potatoes or creamy potato soups. However, it is optional.
- You can easily make this recipe vegetarian by using vegetable stock instead of chicken stock or vegan by replacing the butter, milk, and cream with vegan alternatives.
HOW TO MAKE IRISH POTATO LEEK SOUP?
Prepare the vegetables:
- Finely chop the onion and the garlic.
- Peel and chop the potatoes.
- Clean and chop the leeks. Read this article if you want to learn more about how to clean leeks properly.
- Cook the onions in the melted butter for a few minutes.
- Add the garlic, potatoes, and leeks and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring often, until the vegetables are softer.
- Add the vegetable or chicken stock and cook for about 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are really soft.
- Blend, add the milk and the cream, some freshly grated nutmeg, salt and pepper.
- To make a really creamy soup, blend it completely. You can use an immersion blender or you can blend it in a food processor or blender.
- If using a food processor or blender, puree the soup in batches and remember that it is very hot.
- Don’t turn the processor to its highest level from the beginning, do that gradually to avoid splatterings all over the place (or worse, on your hands). The built-up steam can sometimes even blow the lid off the food processor or blender.
- I always place a kitchen towel on top of the food processor to avoid any drops messing up the kitchen walls.
- Don’t over-blend a potato soup or it might turn gluey, which is really not nice.
- You can also leave the potato leek soup as it is (not blended – love it – more to chew) or mash it only partially with a potato masher.
STORE OR FREEZE
- The Irish soup keeps well in the fridge for about 3 days and can be frozen in airtight containers for up to 4 months.
- Defrost in the fridge and reheat until thoroughly hot.
- Top with finely chopped chives, grated Cheddar or fried bacon pieces. This is how I had it for the first time in a little pub in London. Delicious!
- Serve with chunky bread, ideally soda bread.
- A pint of Guinness or a regular beer and you will need nothing else, a true Irish comfort meal at its best!
MORE ST. PATRICK’S DAY RECIPES?
PIN IT FOR LATER!
- 750 g/ 26.5 oz potatoes (See note)
- 2 large leeks, about 350 g/ 12.4 oz
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 onion
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1,5 liter/ 51 fl.oz/ 6 1/3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 75 ml/ 2.5 fl.oz/ 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 75 ml/ 2.5 fl.oz/ 1/3 cup milk
- a few gratings of nutmeg, optional
- fine sea salt and black pepper
- chives, to garnish
- Peel and chop the potatoes, clean and chop the leeks. Finely chop the garlic. Set aside.
- Chop the onions, set aside separately.
- Melt the butter in a soup pot. Cook the onions for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, potatoes, and leeks, stir well and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring often, until the vegetables are softer.
- Add the stock, cover, bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are perfectly soft.
- Blend the soup with an immersion blender or in a food processor or blender. In this case, blend in batches and follow the safety instructions mentioned above. Do not over-blend the potato and leek soup or it will turn gluey. You can also blend it only partially with a potato masher or leave it as it is.
- Add the milk and the cream and reheat. Adjust the taste with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle with finely chopped chives. Serve as suggested above.
Ideally mealy potatoes, like Russet or Idaho or all-purpose potatoes, like Yukon Gold.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1/4 of the soup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 524Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 10927mgCarbohydrates: 86gFiber: 5gSugar: 26gProtein: 15g