"I am doing very well though, on bread & coffee -- now & then a little potato soup -- think my health is as good as ever it was -- though I am working very closely, hoping to get a respite for a few days that I may come to my own sweet nest for a few days of this rapidly passing winter. If you have not sent my eatables &c, let them rest until I write again."
- Jedediah Hotchkiss in a letter to his wife, Sara, December 21, 1862.
To make this soup even simpler and more period appropriate you can avoid using leeks altogether and just add a second onion or try and find some "wild leeks" or "ramps," (Allium tricoccum.) Leeks, while called for in some period recipes, never became as popular in the U.S. as they were in Europe.
Potato Leek Soup Recipe:
- 3 Leeks (white and light green parts only), thinly sliced
- 1 Onion
- 3 Tablespoons Butter
- 6 Potatoes, peeled and sliced
- 4 Cups of Vegetable broth
- 1 Cup Heavy Cream
- White Pepper and Salt to taste
Put a large soup pot on medium to high heat. Add the butter and sauté the leeks and onions until they start to brown. Add the broth and the potatoes and cook on medium heat until the potatoes are soft in the middle. Mash the potatoes in the pot with a wooden spoon. Remove pot from heat and add the cream, salt and pepper.
In modern times, a cold version of this soup is known as vichyssoise and is largely attributed to french recipes in the 1860s. In 1917, Louis Diat, a chef at the NY Ritz-Carlton claimed to have reintroduced the soup which was based on the soups his mother and grandmother used to make.