This rich, creamy French soup was a big hit at our recent Le Couteaux Trois pop-up restaurant, “Julia Child’s Paris.”
A little history:
France was beset with famine following the Seven Year War (1756-1763). Native son Antoine Auguste Parmentier, who had been fed the commonly regarded as poisonous “potato root” in a German prison-of-war camp, returned to France to find his country men starving.
He set up potato soup kitchens throughout Paris to assist the poor. Ultimately, Louis XVI recognized his work by saying, “France will thank you some day for having found bread for the poor.” In fact, he is best honored by the pleasure his country take in digesting Potage Parmentier.
Potage Parmentier (Potato & Leek Soup)
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 1lb russets peeled & roughly chopped
- 3 large leeks (1lb), thinly sliced
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 1 to 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup crème fraiche
- 1/3 cup minced parsley or chives OR
- 1/3 cup decorative micro-greens
Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the leek and potato. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have begun to soften and brown slightly, about 8 to 12 minutes (this time will vary greatly depending on the surface area of the bottom of your pot).
Add the vegetable stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
If you want a “chunky” soup, strain out the solids and set them aside, if not, leave them in for this next step. Blend soup until smooth, either using an immersion blender or by carefully transferring to a blender in batches.
Add the cream, and season to taste with salt (I start with 1 teaspoon and go from there, tasting frequently) and lemon juice.
Blend again and return to pot to keep warm (add solids back in now, if you removed them earlier.)
Ladle into bowls, and garnish with a dollop of crème fraiche and a healthy sprinkling of minced parsley.
Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids, in our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program.