Restaurant-Worthy Creamy Potato-Leek Soup

Before I met the HH, he was a culinary vagabond, a peripatetic bon vivant who spent his evenings wandering from one acclaimed restaurant to the next.  The HH, you see, ate almost all of his meals in restaurants in the days before  our romance blossomed in the late 1990s (and I’ve written before how he once lived for two years in an apartment and turned the stove on exactly once.). As soon as he acquired his first paying job, he sought out the food of professional chefs daily (apparently Mum’s cooking wasn’t exactly all that enticing). By the time he reached his mid-20s, the HH had dined at every upscale eatery in the city and was a “regular” at hot spots like Bemelman’s, Le Trou Normand, the Courtyard Café or Joe Allen.  His favorite meals consisted of thick, full-cream sauces atop butter-basted scallops;  juicy pan-fried shrimp; or, as often as possible, near-blue filet mignon.  (I know, it’s a miracle we two ever got together, isn’t it?).

Despite his gourmet palate, the HH’s salary was that of any other regular twenty-something, which meant that these gastronomic adventures often consumed most, if not all, of his weekly income.  Given the choice between fine dining and new shoes, the HH invariably chose to endure wet feet in the rain. In fact, he was probably the only “regular” patron whose shoes were more worn than those of the wait staff!

These days, with his restaurant ramblings severely restricted (even if we could afford to dine out more often, there are precious few places that can accommodate my bizarre dietary restrictions), the HH sometimes reminisces about those halycon days when all the food he ate took a full day to prepare and was cooked by someone else.  Once in a while, he asks whether I might be able to re-create one of those long-ago favorites. As a result, I spent one summer blending at least a dozen different takes on gazpacho; I’ve also toyed with endless variations on coconut cream pie.

One of my honey’s most-requested recipes is vichychoisse.  Myself, I’m not a huge fan (in my mind, cold potatoes belong huddled in big chunks in a large bowl, swathed in may0-based dressing with dill and some green peas for your summertime family BBQ, thank you very much), but I did think that a warmed version would be lovely.

Recently I came across a recipe for an unusual potato soup. What made this one different?  A secret ingredient that rendered it both substantial and silky.

I couldn’t resist, of course.  I took the idea and ran cooked with it. I created my own version of a healthier vichyssoise, one that gains its luxurious texture from a surprising addition–oats!  When I served up a bowl of the soup, I didn’t tell the HH about the secret ingredient (he’s kind of getting used to foods that aren’t what they appear to be).  He slid the spoon into the plush, velvety base and then into his mouth.  He seemed to contemplate the soup for a moment, shutting his eyes and pursing his lips.  Then he smiled and nodded.

“Mmmm, yes, this is great,” he finally said.  “You know, I bet you could serve this soup in a fine vegan restaurant!”

Did you hear that?  That’s how far my sweetie has come–from Coquilles St. Jacque at Le Trou Normand to Vegan Leek and Potato Soup at Chez RH–and the first restaurant that popped into his mind was a vegan one!

Well, it may not be classic vichyssoise, but this soup has quickly become one of the HH’s favorites. If you’re looking for a smooth, luscious first course for a holiday meal–and a restaurant-worthy one at that–do give it a try.

Hey, Mum, you know that we can be peripatetic, too, right?  And we can do it on eight legs!  Oh, and if Dad’s not going to be eating that filet mignon any more, I think we might be able to help. . . . ”

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  1. Ricki, this soup looks out of this world! Bravo!

    Love the description of HH’s restaurant adventures pre-Ricki 🙂

  2. I’m so glad to hear you enjoy McDougall’s recipes!! Me too! (and I don’t follow a fat free diet). But their recipes are so creative and filling and good!

    PS .. you omitted the oats in your ingedient list

  3. Mmm…one of my favorite soups, Ricki! Love love love potatoes and leeks together. 🙂

  4. I think this needs to be on our menu next week. It’s supposed to be cold and rainy. This soup would definitely warm a belly!

  5. Well done, Ricki!

    I’m not entering for prizes, but had to tell you how lovely your pics are! I am seeing wonderful photos on the web today, and yours are one of 2 sets I’ve taken time to comment on… lovely!!!

    The soup looks divine, too, and perfect for these chilly, hurried days leading up to the BIG DAY!

    Gigi 😉

    • Gigi, thank you so much! 😀 (Now you have me wanting to go look at the other one. . . !). 😉 And yes, the soup is perfect for this time of year. 🙂

  6. Ricki, this is one of my favorite soups! Any time I am feeling under the weather, for some reason potato leek soup is what I crave. I will SO be making this. And really? What a perfect secret ingredient! Who would have thought to add the oats? I am all over this one!

    Oh, and I agree with Gigi. These photos are just beautiful. You are not giving yourself enough credit, missy! 😉


  7. Hi There Ricki~

    My first thought was: these pictures are beautiful. Lovey presentation!

    My second thought was: YUM! Potato soup is so very satisfying and such a comfort when those cold days set in! Great recipe Ricki.

    Be Well,

  8. I’m very impressed by your creative use of oats – the Quaker people should be paying you to develop more savory oat recipes like this!

  9. Ah, oats — they can be surprising, can’t they? At our food co-op in Madison Wis., we used to get a soft-serve ice cream made entirely from oats, and it was so delicious and creamy. (Sadly, it’s no longer available.) Do you buy gluten-free oats?

    • Wow, now you’ve got me thinking about how to make oat-cream! 😉 I do buy GF oats when I can find them, but I don’t worry overmuch as I don’t have Celiac disease. Being gluten free is a choice for me, and part of the anti-candida diet. 🙂

  10. I love the McDougall newsletter for the recipes too! They are totally the best part. Although, yours are way better 🙂


  11. I will be trying this soup for sure! What a great week for us plant-eaters! I love your secret ingredient, especially for my kids! And can I just say that HH is LUCKY he found you. His heart must thank you every day for saving it from a life of cream and restaurant meat 🙂

    • Ha, ha! Well, if his heart thanks me, sometimes his appetite and taste buds don’t. But when he thinks about it, he comes round to my way of thinking. 😉

  12. I don’t think I’ve ever had vichyssoise before your version sounds delicious. I’m not a big fan of cold soups so I like that you served this one heated too. 🙂

  13. My mom used to make leek & potato soup, but I haven’t had it in so long! Now that you’ve given me a healthier recipe, I can try making it myself!

  14. Thought I already left a comment about this soup. Maybe I got distracted by hunger. Ha ha! This looks and sounds so good! I pretty much love anything potato.

  15. Wow… This will warm me right up!

  16. Potato and oats seem a great team – I have a root vegetable soup that has oats in it and I love the substance they adds to it.

    Amazing to hear that HH was so into his gourmet restaurants – no wonder he got together with you – at least he appreciates good food – unlike E who used to think pasta with ketchup was gourmet and horrified me last week when the pasta went off by saying we could have pasta and ketchup!!!!

    • Johanna, that’s so funny! Oddly, the HH has always loved good food, even when he couldn’t really afford it. So he was poor, but with very good taste! 😉 I must have forgotten about the veg soup w/ oats on your blog (I seem to be forgetting about other recipes these days, hmmmnnn?) lol

  17. My sister is gluten and dairy free so this book would be absolutely perfect for her!
    And that soup! Looks sinfully delicious. We love potato leek soup, so it will be nice to have a recipe she can eat!


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