Darina Allen's winter leek & potato soup

Darina Allen's winter leek & potato soup

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(95 ratings)

Ready in 40-50 minutes


Serves 6 - 8
Of the winter soups, leek and potato is one of the most comforting and familiar - and Darina Allen's makes the most of seasonal, local veg

Nutrition and extra info

  • Veggie (if you use vegetable stock)
  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per serving for six

  • kcal252
  • fat18g
  • saturates11g
  • carbs18g
  • sugars0g
  • fibre3g
  • protein5g
  • salt0.7g
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  • 50g butter



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 450g potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm pieces (try Golden Wonders or Kerr Pinks)



    The world's favourite root vegetable, the potato comes in innumerable varieties. A member of…

  • 1 small onion, cut the same size as the potatoes



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 450g white parts of leeks, sliced (save the green tops for another soup or stock)



    Like garlic and onion, leeks are a member of the allium family, but have their own distinct…

  • 850ml-1.2litres/1½-2pts light chicken or vegetable stock



    Chicken's many plus points - its versatility, as well as the ease and speed with which it…

  • 142ml carton whipping cream
  • 125ml full-fat milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…

To finish

  • the white part of 1 leek



    Like garlic and onion, leeks are a member of the allium family, but have their own distinct…

  • a small knob of butter



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • finely chopped chives


  1. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. When it foams, add the potatoes, onion and leeks and toss them in the butter until they are well coated. Season well with salt and freshly ground pepper and toss again. Put a disc of greaseproof paper (called a cartouche by chefs) on top of the vegetables to keep in the steam), then cover the pan with its lid. Cook over a gentle heat for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft but not coloured.

  2. Uncover the pan and discard the paper. Pour in 850ml/11⁄2 pints of the stock, bring to the boil and simmer until the vegetables are just cooked – about 5 minutes. Do not overcook or the soup will lose its fresh flavour.

  3. Purée in a blender until silky smooth, in batches if necessary, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Return the soup to a clean pan and stir in three quarters of the cream and all of the milk.

  4. To finish the soup, finely shred the white leek and gently cook it in the hot butter for a few minutes until it is softened but not coloured. Reheat the soup to a gentle simmer (add some extra stock at this point if the soup is too thick for your liking), then pour into warmed bowls. Drizzle the remaining cream over each serving, top with a little pile of buttered leeks and a scattering of chives and black pepper and serve at once.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Comments (105)

minicorn's picture

As I felt cold today for the first time I can recall in many months, I decided to make a comforting potato and leek soup. I am so glad that this recipe was the one that I chose!
As my partner is lactose intolerant, I used dairy-free alternatives for the milk, cream (Oatly brand, I find the Alpro Soy one too sweet for most savoury recipes) and butter.
This didn't have any impact on the soup at all - beautiful flavours and very easy to make. As some other comments have mentioned, I found that it required a little more seasoning than I would normally use so do taste test it as you go along.

fayesiedaisy's picture

I personally find this soup a little bland - didn't change anything from the recipe. Possibly would have liked it better if I had kept it a bit more chunky and maybe served with bacon as some have suggested. Ok, but not a rave hit in my house.

pennyclark's picture

Lovely and so quick :)

crazycaterpillar's picture

Delicious soup, quick and easy to make, I substitute the cream for more milk to keep calories down! Still as delicious - my daughters favourite :)

spicelover's picture

We all loved this soup, although I made a couple of changes. I only added 500ml stock and then I removed half the veg, blended the rest and then chucked the veg back in whole. Tried it and it was lovely and then stupidly threw in some cream (about 100ml) but in my opinion is was better before this. Lots and lots of pepper is my top tip :)
Note. I would make this for a dinner party as it's easy and delicious, but would probably blend the whole lot to make it less rustic than mine.

lizleicester's picture

This was just the right soup for warming us up. Mine looked less insipid than the picture shows because I wasn't very strict about only using the white parts of the leeks. I used stock cubes but I bet that a good chicken stock would make this a 5 star soup.

lingpea's picture

Love love love this soup! So easy to make, simple ingredients, very filling, warm and wintery. Added a little too much potato but it was still gorgeous, does need quite a bit of seasoning. Tastes divine topped with crunchy croutons!

Annie B's picture

I made this soup as a slimline option by putting all the ingredients into my soup maker without frying them first and it was delicious. I did add cream to serve with little bits of crispy bacon on top. Just the thing for an Autumn lunch.

rrooke's picture

This is such a delicious & comforting soup, I followed the instructions and flavour was really nice. I didn't add the milk but added the cream as I had it to hand but it would still be delicious without it.

April Elizabeth's picture

Here's hoping this resembles Covent Garden soups, because they've stopped selling this flavour everywhere locally and it is my addiction. :(

wobblymrs's picture

This is the best soup ever - everyone who tries it raves about it. I think it is important to not overcook it, but follow the steps/timings as stated in the recipe, My husband says he would marry me on the strength of this soup alone! Need I say more

learningslowly's picture

This was pretty easy and tastes beautiful. Will be a regular...

LB114's picture

Lovely soup.....perfect for a cold winter day. 5 stars.

AyshaC's picture

A lovely, flavoursome soup for minimal effort!

rionnagan's picture

I make this soup all the time, a great family favourite. I don't use the cream at all and the soup hasn't suffered because of it.

paula1961's picture

Tasty soup but needed a lot of seasoning. Used 2 tbs low fat creme fraiche instead of milk & cream for healthier option. Also found 1 1/4pt stock was ample.

circe12's picture

This is really useful--thanks!

guywlmorgan's picture

Very tasty recipe. Similar ingredients to my Mum's version but different cooking process. I used soya cream as it's what I had and finished the bowl with a little grated nutmeg (like we did at home).

katdixon2012's picture

Great recipe! Mobile site won't let me rate it's 5 stars. Really easy to follow and steaming the veg gave it a wonderful flavour. So many veg soup recipes come out bland but this one was lovely. Didn't have any cream so used cheddar cheese. Had 3 nights running - tasted better with each bowlful!

matildacram123's picture

Really nice recipe and very easy to follow. I used new potatoes which gave the soup a lovely natural sweetness, i also added some blue Stilton both to the soup itself and as a topping on top of the leeks at the end which gave it a great flavour. Instead of blending all the soup I only did half and roughly mashed the other, purely to give different textures to the soup- which I preferred as I don't like to eat soup with the same consistency as baby food!


Questions (2)

circe12's picture

I'm not sure how tender the vegetables are supposed to be before adding the stock? Mine remained crispy at the end of 10 minutes. Am using my discretion and cooking longer.

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there, sorry to hear you're not having success with this recipe. You're absolutely right you do need to test it and cook for longer if they're still crunchy. If you insert a knife or a fork into the vegetables after cooking it should go in fairly easily without too much resistance but equally they shouldn't turn to mush. In lots of our recipes we do give a time but because hobs, pans and even the room temperature you're cooking in can vary so much we add a description of how it should end up as well. If after 10 mins they're still very hard, pop the cartouche back and cook for 2-3 mins more then test again. Repeat until you're happy with the result. Hope this helps and that you'll be tempted to give it another go. 

Tips (1)

drthane100's picture

Love this recipe. I also added few cloves of garlic, a bay leaf and stick of cinnamon while sautéing the vegetables. Discarded the bay leaf and cinnamon before puréeing. Before serving added a pinch of nutmeg to the soup. Tasted yummy!