It was hard to not resist stopping by at the cosy, inviting Toddy's, attached to the gracious old Gresham hotel, now Riu Plaza, for a bowl of soup on a cold rainy evening, walking home on an empty stomach, after a day spent in the hospital in Dublin, Ireland, where my daughter lives.
Cream of Potato and Leek Soup was the day's soup. It was fairly inexpensively priced and came beautifully served, with soda bread on the side. The soup was filling and warming. A few days later I recreated the soup at home with good results.
Irish Cream of Potato and Leek Soup
- 3 medium potatoes
- ½ stalk leek, chopped
- 2 stalks celery chopped, with leaves
- 1 tbsp freshly ground garlic paste
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 tsp butter
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup or more water
- 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
- 1 tsp black pepper powder, preferably freshly crushed
- Salt to taste, about 1½ tsp
- ½ tsp paprika powder
- ½ to ¾ cup milk or cream
- 2 tbsp chopped chives or the greens of a spring onion, for garnish
- A few pea shoots, for garnish, optional
- Peel two of the potatoes and chop into small pieces.
Leave the peel on third alu and chop into 1 mm square pieces and keep aside soaking in water to prevent it from going brown.
- In a large saucepan, over medium heat, saute the 2 peeled and chopped potatoes, onion, garlic in the butter and the olive oil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add in the chopped leeks and celery and saute another 4-5 minutes.
Add 1 cup water and bring to a boil for a few minutes.
Take off heat and cool and grind the soup in a mixer/blender or using a hand blender.
- Return the pureed soup to the saucepan and warm over low heat and add in the reserved chopped unpeeled potato.
Season with salt, pepper, paprika and the parsley.
When the soup comes back to a slow boil, add in the milk/cream and check that the consistency is not too thick and soup-like, else add a little water.
Let the soup once again come back to a slow boil and then take off heat.
- Garnish with 2-3 pea shoots and the chopped green onions or chives.
Serve hot with a slice of crusty bread or toasted garlic bread.
Editor's Note: Chives, leeks, pea shoots are available with certain vegetable sellers in your local vegetable market or at specialised grocery stores. Organic vegetable growers also have sites online and deliver vegetables to your door.
If unable to locate leeks, substitute the half stalk of leek with 3 spring onions with the bulbs.
Add 2 tbsp fried chopped bacon for a little meaty overlay flavour. Sprinkle a little grated cheese for additional taste.
For vegan soup use coconut milk instead of milk or cream. And opt for cashew butter instead of butter.
For a Jain or less carb version of this soup, use a head of cauliflower instead of potatoes. Skip the onions and garlic in a Jain adaptation as well.