Thursday, January 6, 2011

Potato and Leek Soup with a Touch of Ireland

I announced back in August that I was determined to replicate the hearty Potato and Leek Soup I devoured on my recent trip to Ireland. With a little bit of experimenting and some tweaking I think I have come up with a pretty decent recipe. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to duplicate it because it was not only the taste of the soup but the setting of the dinner that created a truly memorable experience. The soup was one of several courses served at a medieval banquet held at Bunratty Castle. I was a little skeptical going into the dinner. My only experience with a medieval banquet was when I attended a banquet in Disney World. I was expecting there to be epic battles and jousting tournaments. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was not the tacky tourist destination I expected.

Dinner was served by the same group of people who provided the entertainment. A small group of men and women dressed in period costumes sang for the guests in between courses. The performers had an incredible presence along with beautiful voices. The experience was also heightened by my introduction to the delectably sweet honey wine called mead. If you enjoy sweet wine I would highly recommend you locate some mead in your area and give it a try. Apparently it is becoming pretty popular in the U.S.

There were so many awe inspiring sights on my trip it was almost impossible to capture them all. I managed to grab a few pics of some of my favorites.

Cliffs of Moher

Gap of Dunloe

Aran Islands

Street scene in Galway

Gorgeous flowers in Cobh

I made what I believe to be a pretty basic soup. I know from my previous exchange with Shannon Heritage, the group that manages the visitors at Bunratty Castle, that they use chicken stock instead of vegetable stock. I didn’t have any homemade chicken stock defrosted when I last made this so I used vegetable stock instead. I’m sure chicken stock would be just as tasty.

Potato and Leek Soup with a Touch of Ireland


4 tbsp butter

1 onion, chopped

3 leeks, sliced

3 potatoes, cut into 3/4 inch cubes

3 1/2 cups vegetable stock

salt and pepper to taste

2/3 cup light cream, to serve (optional)

1-2 teaspoons snipped fresh chives, to garnish


1.) Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, add the onion, leeks, and potatoes, and saute gently for 4-5 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

2.) Using a potato masher, mash until potatoes just begin to break down and soup is thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Swirl with the cream if using and garnish with the chives. Serve.

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11 Responses to “Potato and Leek Soup with a Touch of Ireland”

  1. 1

    Jersey Girl Cooks — January 6, 2011 @ 12:51 PM

    Beautiful pictures! Funny I have some leeks in the fridge and was planning on making soup this week. Looks delicious!

  2. 2

    Luke @ WellJourn — January 6, 2011 @ 5:50 PM

    Your photos are awesome and the recipe looks great!

  3. 3

    fooddreamer — January 6, 2011 @ 9:08 PM

    This looks wonderful! The soup I mean. But the pictures take me back to a trip I took to Ireland with my husband (was just my boyfriend at the time). 12 years ago now, it’s hard to believe. We too went to the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands. And I loved the bustle of Galway. Thanks for sharing!

  4. 4

    Kim - Liv Life — January 6, 2011 @ 9:48 PM

    I’m so glad you posted your photos! I really enjoy seeing photos of trips people do. Ireland is on our list, but I’ve never been there. With the last name of Kelly, my husband has a few very distant relatives still there that we hope to visit someday.
    The soup is wonderful!

  5. 5

    ldh — January 7, 2011 @ 7:11 PM

    Hi Wendy!

    Coming by to see your food blog on the recommendation of your aunt Carolyn. I had a great time perusing many of your posts! My blog is more of an on-line journal but I do have lots of food posts and spend many happy days in the kitchen!

    I have listed my recipes on my side bar, mainly for my daughters who are constantly calling for a recipe that I gave them many times before.

    Coincidentally, my last post was about the sweet morning I just spent with Carolyn. I posted several photos and one includes your mom :) I have many fun memories growing up as a next-door neighbor :)

    A joy visiting with you!
    Kindly, Lorrie

  6. 6

    briarrose — January 8, 2011 @ 1:58 PM

    Beautiful pictures. It looks like a fabulous trip. Delightful looking soup.

  7. 7

    Jeanette — March 13, 2011 @ 10:04 AM

    I love all the photos you took of your trip to Ireland. I went there years ago, and wish I had taken more! I do love coming home after a trip and making foods from the countries I’ve visited. It brings back such fond memories.

  8. 8

    Lynn @ I'll Have What She's Having — March 13, 2011 @ 2:36 PM

    Looks like you had a wonderful trip.The sounds great too!

  9. 9

    Lynn @ I'll Have What She's Having — March 13, 2011 @ 2:37 PM


  10. 10

    jenjenk — April 7, 2014 @ 7:31 PM

    I’m embarrassed to say how much i enjoyed the bunratty castle dinner! i just went a few weeks ago and it was a highlight!

    i loved the soup but remember tasting a bit of curry in it! man…they really know how to make a good soup!

    • Wendy replied: — April 8th, 2014 @ 7:34 AM

      I really enjoyed the dinner too:) You might be right about the curry. I will add a little next time I make it. They really do make a great soup.

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