Recipe: potato & leek soup with garlic croutons by Ian Bursnall

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Spoon up this creamy, comforting soup, with a cheesy, crunchy topping

A bowl of potato and leek soup with garlic croutons
(Image credit: Martin Poole)

My mother used to make soup on a Tuesday and serve it with cheese and pickle on a crusty baguette for dipping, said Ian Bursnall in his new book of delicious recipes for cooks on a tight budget. This one is just the thing to warm you up on a cold winter's day. 


  • 600g leeks, washed and chopped 
  • 30g unsalted butter 
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped 
  • 700g potatoes, peeled, washed and quartered 
  • 700ml vegetable stock 
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • ½ tsp salt 
  • ½ tsp pepper 
  • 200ml double cream 
  • 2 tsp wholegrain mustard 
  • 200g baguette 
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter 
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil 
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed 
  • 50g mature cheddar cheese, grated (optional) 
  • salt and pepper  


  • Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. 
  • First, make the soup. Place the leeks in a saucepan with the butter and cook over a low heat until the leeks start to soften, about 5 minutes. 
  • Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the potatoes, stock, bay leaf, salt and pepper. 
  • Stir and place the lid on. Bring to a simmer, then cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15-20 minutes. 
  • Once cooked, put the soup to one side to cool, remove the bay leaf, then blitz with a stick blender to the consistency you like. 
  • Stir in the cream and mustard and set aside. 
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C/gas mark 6. 
  • Now make the garlic croutons. Cut your baguette into bite-sized pieces and put into a bowl. 
  • Put the butter, oil and garlic with some salt and pepper into a saucepan over a low heat. Melt the butter, then cook the garlic for 1 minute. 
  • Pour the garlic butter over the bread pieces, tossing them to coat well. Add the cheese, if using, and toss together. 
  • Spread the bread pieces out on the lined baking tray, then bake in the oven for around 10 minutes until golden and crispy, turning once or twice, but do keep an eye on them. 
  • Remove from the oven and set aside, while you gently reheat the soup in a saucepan. 
  • Serve the hot soup in bowls and serve the croutons in a separate bowl so people can help themselves.

Taken from "The Skint Cook: Over 80 easy, tasty recipes that won't break the bank" by Ian Bursnall, published by HQ, HarperCollins at £20. Photography by Martin Poole. To buy from The Week Bookshop for £15.99, call 020-3176 3835 or visit

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