This is it. The soup of (family) legend! How many times does a soup achieve that (more on this below)!
My mother researched the French classic many years ago, for an international food celebration at my high school. And it’s been a keeper ever since. Yes that’s over two generations, though we called it Spinach Potato Leek soup back in the day!
What is Cream of Spinach Soup?
Julia Child’s cream of spinach soup is probably the classic rendition of this. She uses onions instead of leeks, thickens with egg yolk in addition to flour and adds no potatoes.
And as I explored recipes more, I had to wonder if mine is a composite of Cream of Spinach Soup with the also classic Potato Leek Soup. Of course, I do love that this gives diners two vegetables (add a veggie is my motto!). Even if I can’t take credit for it.
Why You’ll Love This!
Versatile. This dish can be served as an appetizer, side dish, or main course.
Tasty. Creamy and savory, each bite will leave you wanting more!
What You’ll Need
- Butter. Oil can be used if you prefer.
- Leeks. These provide a mild onion flavor. Shallots would be my first choice for a substitute.
- Celery. This adds nuance to the flavor.
- Flour. This thickens the broth.
- Chicken Broth. The base of the soup. Vegetable broth can be substituted if desired. Using a flavorful broth is key to the final flavor.
- Potatoes. This adds flavor and body.
- Milk or Cream. This provides the creaminess.
- Spinach. These delicious greens are a classic element of this soup.
- No special tools required.
Step by Step Directions
The soup comes together easily. You sauté the celery and leeks.
Stir in the flour and add the broth to thicken.
Add potatoes and cook until tender.
Add spinach and cook until wilted.
How to Serve
As I mentioned, my daughter loves Cream of Spinach Soup as a comfort food. In fact, it was always one of her favorite “just got the braces tightened” meals. She’d eat it for breakfast then which was fine with me since she wasn’t able to eat her usual carrot sticks at lunch!
Of course, for everyday eating, this is delicious served in the classic combinations of soup and (half) sandwich or soup and salad. Or it’s fine just on its own as a light lunch. In that case a loaf of crusty bread or a basket of muffins is a wonderful accompaniment.
This soup would also make an excellent first course since it’s light enough not to dampen the appetite excessively.
I love using thin slices of mini-peppers as a garnish on this, especially since parsley would disappear! And if you have them, a nice scattering of croutons would add texture and be visually appealing!
Why I Don’t Blend this Soup
But back to the legend….
If you go browsing online, you will see that sometimes this soup (or similar) is pureed. It may be done to make the soup thicker, or sometimes to achieve a smooth consistency.
And I honestly can’t remember why I decided to puree it, after successfully serving it to my kids many times before. But that day I threw caution to the wind, poured the soup into the blender, and cycled it on.
And… even I didn’t like the color.
When my kids arrived for dinner, there was a universal, “Eeuuwww!” And my oldest quipped, “You made cream of pond scum soup!”
So to this day, “cream of pond scum” is firmly entrenched in the family vernacular, right next to “grab a mouse first thing in the morning” (another family story).
So truly…, this is your only warning. Think twice before blending it.
Tips and FAQs
Cream of spinach is a lovely soup any time of the year. But it’s especially nice in fall and winter. And happily, both leeks and potatoes are long lasting so you may be able to make this with local ingredients in January!
Spinach is regularly on the EWG Dirty Dozen list of most contaminated fruits and vegetables, so buy organic if you can. Either fresh or frozen will work.
And since it’s always comfort food season, take a look at more recipes from some of my blogging friends!
Comfort Food Recipes
- Butterscotch Tapioca Pudding from That Recipe
- Cajun Red Beans and Rice Skillet from Blogghetti
- Cream of Spinach Soup from Art of Natural Living
- Fried Chicken Hot Shot (Manhattan) from Palatable Pastime
- Gluten-Free, Vegan Cilantro Cream Quinoa Spaghetti from Magical Ingredients
- Make Ahead Beef Stew from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Meatball Lasagna from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Sausage Tortellini Soup from Fresh April Flours
- Taco Soup from Devour Dinner
Cream of Spinach Soup with Potatoes
- ¼ cup butter or oil
- 2 large leeks white and light green only, chopped fine
- 2 celery stalks w/leaves cut fine
- ¼ cup flour
- 4 cups chicken broth or vegetable
- 2 cups cubed potato
- ½ cup milk or cream, non-dairy for vegan option
- 4 cups spinach ripped into smaller pieces
- salt, pepper as needed
- Sautee leeks and celery in butter or oil until softened. Stir in flour and cook for a few minutes.
- Add the broth and cook, stirring, until slightly thickened. Add the potatoes and continue cooking.
- When potatoes are tender, stir in the spinach and cook just until wilted.
- Add cream or milk, bring back to temperature if needed. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately.
Adapted from the original November 2011 post.
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