Soup Season is kicking in, and if you love taters like I love taters, you’ll be crazy in love with this Roasted Potato Leek Soup with Crispy Shallots from Ina Garten (code name: Barefoot Contessa).

You won’t believe how much flavor is infused into every half-cup serving. The soup’s foundation is a combination of potatoes, leeks and arugula roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper. Then comes the next layer of flavor: white wine (or apple cider) and vegetable stock.

Most cooks would stop here with a perfectly respectable soup, but when have we ever been respectable?

Onward, Ina!

Her next step is to take the pureed vegetables, stock and wine and transform them with the addition of heavy cream, creme fraiche and Parmesan, adding complexity, richness and tang. And fat (see also half-cup serving).

The finishing touch? A pinch of crispy shallots. You might be tempted to skip the shallots (I was), but having that intense flavor and little bit of crunch makes this soup.

We paired it with a hunk of beer bread for a pretty low-key dinner, but this soup would make an excellent first course for a more elaborate meal. Something with intricate outdoor lighting, a welcome-to-the-party-cocktail and a tablescape, as The Good Ina intended.

Roasted Potato Leek Soup

When you get to step 5, be sure to puree the vegetables with the stock and the pan liquid. Otherwise, your pureed potatoes will be glued to the metal blade of the food processor. Trust me.

Adapted from Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics”

Makes 6 to 8 servings (1/2 cup each)

  • 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 4 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts, cleaned of all sand (4 leeks)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups baby arugula, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or cider, plus extra for serving
  • 6 to 7 cups vegetable stock (originally chicken)*
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces creme fraiche or sour cream
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnish
  • Crispy Shallots (recipe follows)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Combine the potatoes and leeks on a sheet pan in a single layer. Add the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes, turning them with a spatula a few times, until very tender.
  3. Add arugula, and toss to combine. Roast for 5 more minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the oven, and place over 2 burners on low heat. Stir in the wine and 1 cup of the chicken stock, and scrape up any crispy roasted bits sticking to the pan.
  5. In batches, transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor, adding the pan liquid and about 5 cups of the chicken stock to make a puree. Pour the puree into a large pot or Dutch oven. Continue to puree the vegetables in batches until they’re all done and combined in the large pot.
  6. Add enough of the remaining 1 to 2 cups of stock to make a thick soup.
  7. Add the cream, creme fraiche, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.
  8. When ready to serve, reheat the soup gently and whisk in 2 tablespoons white wine and 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Serve hot with an extra grating of Parmesan and crispy shallots.

*Gluten-Free Tip: Use GF vegetable stock.

Crispy Shallots

  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 to 6 shallots, peeled and sliced into thin rings
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil and butter over medium-low heat until it reaches 220 degrees F on a candy thermometer.
  2. Reduce the heat to low, add the shallots, and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, until they are a rich golden brown. The temperature should stay below 260 degrees F. Stir the shallots occasionally to make sure they brown evenly.
  3. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon, drain, and spread out to cool on paper towels. Once they have dried and crisped, they can be stored at room temperature, covered, for several days.