Leek soup with feta, dill, and paprika is a lighter cream soup that’s perfect for summer. Full of leeks, broth, cream, feta, dill, and paprika, it’s an unexpected take on both vichyssoise and a heavy cream soup. It’s almost like a perfect combination of both.
A bowl of creamy leek soup is always satisfying and this Turkish version, pırasaçorbası, is no exception. Flavored with dill and topped with crumbled white cheese, it’s herby and salty at the same time.–Ghillie Basan
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO CLEAN LEEKS?
Leeks can be deceptively dirty…and we’re here to help you get them squeaky clean. Because they prefer sandy soil and because of their growth pattern, they have lots of layers, nooks, and crannies where sand and grit hide out. After trimming off the roots and dark tops, slice the remaining leek into rings or strips (depending on the recipe—here, you can do whichever you prefer) and separate. Dump all of the pieces into a baking dish or deep bowl full of cool water and swish ’em around. The leeks will float while the dirt and sediment will fall to the bottom. Scoop out those clean leek bits and place them on a paper towel to drain.
Leek Soup with Feta, Dill, and Paprika
- 2 tablespoons olive or sunflower oil
- 3 to 4 large (14 oz) leeks trimmed, roughly chopped, and washed
- 1 (7 oz) yellow onion chopped
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar (optional)
- A bunch of fresh dill (2 1/2 oz | 70 g), chopped, with a few fronds reserved for the garnish
- 5 cups store-bought or homemade chicken or vegetable stock
- Scant 1 cup heavy cream
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon (1/2 oz) butter (optional)
- 4 ounces beyaz peynir or feta cheese crumbled
- Paprika to garnish
- In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Stir in the chopped leeks and onion. Cook until the vegetables are soft but not colored, about 15 minutes.
- Return the puréed soup to the saucepan and bring it back to a boil. Reduce the heat and stir in the cream (don’t let it boil).
- Season to taste with salt and pepper. If using the butter, drop it onto the surface of the soup and let it melt.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and top with the crumbled beyaz peynir or feta. Serve immediately, garnished with a little paprika and the dill fronds.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
My summer soups are usually served cold and devoid of cream. This leek soup, with its handful of dill and salty crumbled feta, felt like a summer soup. I’m just as certain that this soup could be enjoyed any season.
When I read the ingredient list, I wasn’t sure about the need for sugar. I used it and am still unsure of its need. However, it didn't make the soup overly sweet despite being added to sweet onion and leeks.
Overall, the flavors were both bold and mellow. The paprika offered a bit of color which, with the feta, was welcomed on a green cream-based soup. We enjoyed this leek soup with feta, dill, and paprika with crusty bread and a glass of rosé. Each bowl received a seal of approval.
This leek soup with feta, dill, and paprika comes together quite easily and without any fuss, yet has all the sophistication of a vichyssoise (yes, I had to try it both hot and chilled). The contrast of the velvety creaminess (thank you cream + a Vitamix) with slight sweetness goes perfectly with the tang of a good feta. A pretty bowl of green soup has a strange attraction and I cannot resist.
First, I had to make a swap. Dill just doesn’t have a fan club in our house, though adjacent flavors like fennel, anise, and chervil seem to be well accepted. The whole incentive to make this soup was when a farm stand visit sent us home with beautiful tender fennel full of huge feathery fronds. That inspired making the soup with the fennel fronds in place of the dill, which cooked beautifully, though they may be a tad sweeter. Next time I'd omit the sugar. I had some very fresh, very nice Greek feta on hand, and it had all the tangy brightness I hoped for.
First, I served this with sweet paprika (thinking smoked paprika would be too dominant, even in sparse amounts), but, after trying it that way, I wanted something with more distinction. I found that half-sharp Hungarian had heat, but I wanted something that also had a fruitiness, and finally turned to Aleppo. Best might be Marash (also called Turkish Paprika), which is very similar to Aleppo. Play with your choice of paprika, as even a small sprinkle needs to do more than provide color--for me, I wanted the fruitiness as well.
Serve hot with the feta and a sprinkling of the paprika or pepper of your choice, (save a few of the finest for the top). Surprisingly, the same serving worked chilled (yay! with more feta for me please). I also had to try the idea of a bit of quickly sautéed shrimp as a garnish too. All three versions were lovely. Small portions would be great for a party, served in small glasses or demitasse, and as a Vichyssoise-adjacent soup, is the perfect make-ahead entertaining recipe.
1. Remember you're just sweating the leeks and onion—not browning.
2. When it's time to add the butter, slice or shave it a bit thin so it doesn't just sink into the soup before melting.
3. Fork crumble the feta--it only takes a moment and ensures you have creamy irregular bits of various sizes, so the smallest melt and the larger bits hold their shape and flavor (pre-crumbled feta is often dry).
Originally published July 22, 2021