Potato Leek Soup

January 18, 2011

I’ve been referring to this recipe all day as “Good Girl Soup,” rather than calling it by it’s true French name, Potage Bonne Femme. I have no idea why it’s called that. Perhaps, because it’s broth-y and light and friendly to the figure? No, it calls for butter and “good girls” don’t eat that kind of butter…or do they? I know I do!

The title literally translates to “Good Woman Soup,” but that’s not as fun to say. Still, I have no idea why it would be called by such a name. I keep thinking it might be some sexist reference to the female cook, a way of telling whether your woman is a keeper by how well she makes this soup. Eek. Let’s not get carried away!

Most likely, the meaning is lost in translation. Hey, I may have lived in France, but I never said my French was any good.  In any case, this soup is thin yet filling and has layers of flavor from the bay leaf and cloves. It’s simple, great for weeknights and leftovers. I modified the recipe only slightly- translating the original measurements from ounces and subbing in ground cloves for whole cloves. Otherwise, the recipe is copied straight out of the book.

Ingredients: (Makes 4 servings) Adapted from I Know How To Cook

3 leeks diced

4 medium sized carrots diced

5 small golden potatoes peeled and diced

(note: try to cut all the veggies about the same size)

6 cups water

1 tsp ground cloves (or 2 to 3 whole cloves if you’ve got ‘em)

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons butter (divided)

salt and pepper to taste

Directions: In a large soup pot, heat 1 tablespoon butter and add in the veggies. Cook for a few minutes.

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Before the veggies start to brown, add water, bay leaves, cloves, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Be sure to taste several times for seasoning.

Before serving, use a slotted spoon to remove cloves (if you used whole cloves) and bay leaves. Stir in the remaining butter (and/or a bit of heavy cream if you feel so inclined) and serve with a side of buttered (yes, more butter!) bread. Bon appetit!


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  4. White Bean Hummus Soup
  5. Spicy Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup


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Lisa {Smart Food and Fit} January 19, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I’ll have to ask my French friend why this soup is called that. My French friend made a potato leek soup for my family when I gave birth to my 3rd child. She purees it but I’ll have to try your version. Perfect for this cold 20 degree weather in Michigan!

Jennifer January 19, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Let me know what you find out! I’d love to know more about the name of this recipe.

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