The inspiration for my Potato Leek Soup came from my dear friend Kelly, a 10 time Ironman and 2 time 50 mile endurance runner. This courageous woman is battling leukemia for the second time. While undergoing chemotherapy, Kelly requested potato leek soup made without cream for lunch.
The potato leek soup also served as a nutritious and tasty breakfast prior to a long run or trail race, where I am running anywhere from 3 to over 6 hours. Chicken Rice Soup and Potato Leek Soup are now my two favorite early morning meals to help fuel my long workouts. Both also provide potassium. I usually consume half a bagel or some oatmeal in addition to the soup. Some races offer broth on the course or soup at the end of the race. At the finish of this weekend’s trail race, I grabbed warm soup and chased it down with low-fat chocolate milk. Since I often cannot tolerate solid food immediately after an endurance event, I find that calories in liquid form are the easiest way to get nutrition down. I personally prefer real food over “recovery” drinks. Remember, it’s important to consume calories within 20 minutes of your workout.
Leeks belong to a vegetable family called the Allium vegetables which includes garlic and onions and contain many of the same beneficial compounds. For more information on the nutritional value of leeks, check out this article:
Serving size: 8
Equipment: Hand held immersion blender or regular blender
- 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 large leeks or 4 medium leeks, white and pale green parts only, washed and diced
- 5 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 ½ teaspoons finely chopped thyme
- 7+ cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder (for Kelly, I reduced or omitted this)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- fresh parsley, chopped, to garnish (optional)
In a Dutch oven or stock pot, sauté the leeks in olive oil for 8 minutes until the leeks are softened but not brown.
Add chopped garlic, thyme, potatoes and broth. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. If using a hand held immersion blender, puree soup until smooth with no lumps. Be careful. The soup will be very hot. If using a regular blend, allow soup to cool down before pouring into blender. Once in the blender, puree soup in small batches, using a towel to cover the lid in case the hot mixture escapes.
Add additional broth to obtain the desired consistency. I prefer it to be a little creamy and loose enough to drink out of a mug.
Stir in chili powder and salt to taste. It’s important to add a bit at a time and keep tasting. You can always add more but you can’t take it back out. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley or croutons. Add additional broth to soup if it becomes too thick when re-heating.