Irish potato leek soup

I need a leek.

Irish potato leek soup is so delicious and very easy to make. If you have a problem with your weight, enjoy it cold; in biochemical terms, the carbohydrate retrogrades forming more resistant starch. Then much of it passes through the small intestine undigested, drastically slowing the rise of blood glucose and its storage as fat.

Instead that starch is consumed in the colon by the microbiota and is not turned into glucose but rather very important short-chain fatty acids.

When one thinks of Ireland and potatoes, your thoughts are probably of the great Irish famine of about 170 years ago during which nearly a million people died of starvation; that was the making of the United States. The cream of Eire emigrated to the New World.

Living in Illinois we were frequently reminded of the great contribution they have made to every level of society in the USA. Even the Chicago river turns green on St Patrick's Day.

It takes only ten minutes to prepare the vegetables and another half an hour to cook this marvelous soup; a third of that if you use pressure. 

And if you think of the Netherlands, your thoughts probably turn to tulips. But when I consider our years living in Holland, I think of prei; that is the delicious vegetable that the English-speaking world calls a leek.

She is the queen of Holland. Not a very elegant lady whilst reigning in her fields but, once you pluck her, she makes the most delicious and nourishing soup.

And then, if you find it a bit plain, you can fiddle with various stocks to make it more interesting; personally I think the subtle flavours of leek and potato take a lot of beating. We do however use a salmon or chicken-based bouillon occasionally.

It makes a perfect fit on our easy soup recipes page.

This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 27th January, 2020.

A leek field in Limburg, Netherlands.

Growing leeks for their wonderful flavour is a must for the big garden; the allicin benefits alone make it worthwhile for your health.

A lovely bundle of leeks.

Of course, it is not only the Irish and the Dutch who can grow potatoes; here are a bucketful from our own garden.

Potatoes are an essential ingredient for leek soup, these grown in compost.

New potatoes are less fattening, if you can find them.

Irish potato leek soup

Irish potato leek soup has many variations; try adding some salmon to make a complete dinner.

Vichyssoise

Vichyssoise is just the French name for an Irish potato and leek soup; it is enjoyed cold. Overnight storage of potato in the fridge makes it significantly less fattening; the carbohydrate retrogrades making it less digestible in the small intestine; instead it's fermented in the colon. Read more about resistant starch

The ingredients for Irish potato and leek soup.
  1. 2 to 3 large leeks
  2. 1 optional onion 
  3. A couple large potatoes
  4. One outer coarse celery stalk; the young 'uns  we keep for Helen's 15 euro salad.
  5. Two cups of chicken bones bouillon.
  6. A salmon filet is a fantastic optional alternative.
  7. Add your seasonings; salt and pepper, finely chopped fresh parsley and chives, a bay leaf, a slither of chili if you like it hot and, of course, garlic; your favourite condiments.
  8. Stir in a dollop of cream if your cholesterol is in order and you are banting; more about that lower down. 

As I said above you could use a pressure cooker; it reduces the time considerably, saving you electricity too.

  • The green part of your leek needs to be carefully washed; it is usually full of grit. Cut off the upper third, split them in half, and rinse thoroughly.
  • Drop a good dollop of butter into a pot, turn to moderate heat and toss in your chopped leeks.
  • Peel and clean the other ingredients, and add them; stir occasionally.
Cleaning the leeks for an Irish potato soup.
Chopped leeks for an Irish potato soup.
Ingredients for an Irish potato leek soup in the pot.

Chicken Bones bouillon

Chicken bones bouillon is a cartilage rich stock that Harvard Medical school found to be more effective that medication for stubborn inflammatory arthridites.

 Now you have two options.

  1. Chicken based stock
  2. Salmon filet

Both are great, and I recommend you try both. For the first, you use your chicken bones bouillon.

For the second, add two cups of boiling water to your ingredients, and the salmon, chopped in pieces.

Add the condiments, cover and cook on low heat for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaf, and you can either liquidise, or ladle straight to your soup bowls. Add a dollop of cream, and sprinkle with chives and parsley. It is so delicious; what we call healthy slow food made fast.

Bernie's leek and salmon soup

Bernie's leek and salmon soup is without equal rich in anti inflammatory omega-3 and allicin; and a heap of other nutritious phytochemicals.

Irish potato leek soup with salmon.
The completed Irish potato, leek and salmon soup.

Do you have time on your hands? Love to fiddle in the kitchen? This is the queen of all soups. You follow the same recipe as above but, instead of the chicken stock or filet of fatty fish, you make a salmon bouillon.

It means a trip to the fish market to buy a salmon skeleton and head once the fillets have been removed; it costs me only one euro.

There is so much goodness remaining, and it is usually consigned to the gannets. No wonder our seas are being denuded at such an alarming rate; starvation and obesity face the world in equal measure. We waste so much, and eat the wrong stuff; the highly refined highly glycemic starches.


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But you will enjoy an Irish potato leek soup; with salmon, it is to die for. Astonishingly, it is proven to be heart and cartilage protective. You might just live to a happy, healthy ninety; with your marbles intact, because the omega-3 in protects your brain too.

You will find the recipe to make the bouillon at the fish oil health benefits page lower down. Once you have bought your salmon backbone, it takes three quarters of an hour of cooking and two minutes of fiddle to remove the bones; much less, of course, in the pressure cooker. Voilà, it is finished.

Banting diet

The latest fad to hit the poor dieters of his world is the Banting diet; whilst it has much to offer, like all fashions, it's so extreme that it's unsustainable for many, I suspect. This Irish potato leek soup would certainly not find favour with its protagonists, certainly if eaten hot. 

It is based on a near zero carbohydrate and very high fat diet. There is considerable fat in the chicken bones and salmon filet; you could go further by adding a dollop of double thick cream; or just a lump of butter.

But it is the potato that the banting folk will be avoiding. Potato does indeed have a high glycemic index when eaten immediately after boiling but, in the context of the whole meal, with plenty of fat and protein, it's acceptable. If you're concerned use sweet potato instead.

Did you know that butter is back? It should never have been banished to Coventry in the first place. Now it is margarine's turn to take a well deserved break in the wilderness.

Frailty syndrome

The premature onset and rapid progression of aging, weight loss and weakness is known as frailty syndrome. It is been shown to be strongly related to a deficiency of four vitamins.

The potato is surprisingly rich in vitamin C. The leeks have reasonably good amounts of the other three; do you know what they are?

Mesothelioma

Do you have asbestos pipes delivering water to your neighbourhood? Do not drink it; I am not crazy about bottled either because of the plastic micro particles.

Asbestos causes one of the most serious tumours in lungs if breathed in, and in the gut if ingested. Mesothelioma is nasty stuff.

Irish Potato Leek Soup

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Gems, both amusing and healthful, from the life and work of a DC.


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