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Potato & Cheddar Soup with Chive–Walnut Swirl

Potato & Cheddar Soup with Chive–Walnut Swirl
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Total Time: 1 hour

Hands On Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 6–8 servings

Leeks and potatoes are good companions, and here they get a zingy boost from sharp Cheddar. This is pure comfort food, smooth, rich, and bursting with flavor. The chive–walnut swirl is added at the table, highlighting the smooth white soup with a gorgeous green color and an herby, nutty flavor. This recipe is adapted from Kathy’s book, Notes from a Maine Kitchen.

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Photo/Art by Kristin Teig

For the soup:


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds leeks, washed, green parts discarded, whites thinly sliced
  • 2-1/2 pounds potatoes, any variety, peeled and roughly chopped
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 7-1/2 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese


Prepare the soup: In a large soup pot, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the leeks; stir, and cook 10 minutes, stirring once or twice. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring often, 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the broth, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Once the soup comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Using an immersion blender or standing blender, purée the soup (in batches if using the standing blender)until completely smooth. Transfer the soup back to the pot if needed and sprinkle in the cheese. Stir over low heat for another minute; then taste for seasoning.

For the swirl:


  • 1 cup fresh chives, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup walnut halves
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese


Make the swirl: Use a food processor to pulse the chives and walnuts until finely chopped. Add salt, pepper, and oil and process until well blended; the mixture will be quite thick. Add the cheese and pulse several times to incorporate. Adjust the seasoning if needed.

To serve, pour the hot soup into a bowl and swirl in a heaping teaspoon of the chive–walnut–Cheddar mixture.
Updated Monday, May 5th, 2014

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