Contributor Christian Reynoso learned the hard way that using a blender to make creamy potato-leek soup can be a bit of a gamble. The purée easily goes gummy—and even if it doesn’t, the results are less dynamic and interesting to eat than a soup with creamy chunks of potato and caramelized pops of leek. This version of the classic pairing forgoes blending entirely, resulting in an easy potato soup with lots of texture and minimal cleanup.
Choose small waxy potatoes like fingerlings or Yukon Golds over starchier Idaho or russet potatoes (don’t worry about peeling them unless you really want to). And try to find smaller-sized leeks that’ll match the potatoes’ circumference and fit easily into your soup spoon when sliced into rounds. The green parts of the leeks are too tough to eat, so trim them and reserve to make a batch of homemade vegetable broth.
The bulk of this recipe’s prep time is spent on the gremolata topping—but it’s optional, so feel free to skip it and garnish the bowls with a simple snipping of fresh chives instead. Here’s where we try to convince you to go for the whole shebang: The combination of crispy fried sage, rosemary, thyme, and capers tossed with minced garlic and lemon zest adds a bright, aromatic punch to the warm potato-leek soup. It’s a delicate finish to the hearty, warm bowls, making this soup not just comforting, but also enlivening. And bonus, the recipe yields more topping than you’ll need. Mix any remaining gremolata with sour cream to make a ranch-style dip, use it in place of croutons as a crispy salad topper, or sprinkle it on braised chicken, seared salmon, fried eggs, or popcorn. Store the gremolata in an airtight container lined with paper towels with the lid slightly ajar (airflow will help it stay crisp); gently reheat in a dry skillet on the stovetop.
Still craving a blended soup? Our Perfectly Creamy Potato Soup gets the immersion blender treatment for a bowl that’s less baby food, more perfect purée.