ALTHOUGH TODAY IS SUNNY, we had almost a month of rain here and it’s cold outside! Time for soup! This is a tried and true recipe I pull out every winter to warm the tummy and the soul. It’s fueled many a writing session and can be made from ingredients I usually have on hand. A versatile recipe, it can be tweaked for all the vegetarians or carnivores you may have at your table. (Just serve the bacon separately…) I always double the recipe—leftovers are always better than the first day for soups.

I’ve made this since the 70’s when I was in my “earth mother” phase.  Just serve with a tossed green salad, a crisp, dry, white wine, and some good, crusty bread to dunk.  Make dessert something simple, too, like poached pears, pomegranates, or berries and cream.


5 large russet potatoes — peeled and diced

3 leeks — up to 4 depending on size

3 1/2 cups water…to cover potatoes

1 1/2 cups whole milk (can use lactose free)

1/2 teaspoon caraway seed

2 tablespoons dill weed (fresh if you have it, freeze-dried if you don’t)

salt and pepper to taste

a few dollops of sour cream


garnish: fresh chives, parsley or more dill


Peel potatoes. Wash leeks and chop them up well, discarding tough green ends. Cook vegetables together in boiling water about 1/2 hour until tender. Add milk, caraway seeds, dill, salt and pepper to taste. Let the soup simmer another 15 -20 minutes or until it begins to thicken and the potatoes begin to fall apart a little. Stir in a few tablespoons of sour cream and a tablespoon or two of butter. Let it all heat through and serve. Garnish with chopped chives, chives or parsley.

I saw the original recipe for this in The Vegetarian Epicure (a great little cookbook even if you’re not vegetarian).