I’m on a soup kick lately – from butternut squash to mushroom barley, and now potato leek. I can’t help it – just five minutes outdoors lately and I’m begging to wrap my hands around a steaming bowl of soup – if only to thaw them.

Luckily this potato leek soup serves an even better purpose than finger defrosting – it will heat you from the inside out as it fills you up.

Leek is a greatly underappreciated vegetable – it’s perfect for soups, stews and even sautéed as a side dish with some mushrooms and onions. Leek has a tendency to trap dirt in between the layers, so be sure to carefully wash the stalks before using. I like to slice them in half, then pull apart the layers under cold running water.

Potato Leek Soup

Serves 4-6

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3/4 cup sliced leek (about 1 large stalk)
4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced or finely diced
3/4 cup milk or soy milk
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dried parsley

Carefully wash and clean the leek. Bring the broth to a boil in 2 or 3 quart pot.

Add the leek, potatoes, onion and garlic to the pot. Simmer the mixture over medium heat for 25 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender.

Add the milk, pepper, salt and parsley and return to a simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

Use a potato masher or an immersion blender to gently mash/puree some or all of the potatoes until the desired consistency is achieved. [Don’t use a blender or food processor – it will make the potatoes gluey and unappetizing.]

Serve hot.