Brussels Sprouts and Leek Soup, with fried potatoes and ricotta

Brussels Sprouts and Leek Soup

It happens! Certainly, when I used to know of several photographers it happened to each and every one of us. Then, it was a case of using SLR’s (35mm film cameras) and shooting an entire film only to realise that it hadn’t caught properly. Here, it happened with developing this soup – highly unusual for me to to do any research for a soup. Instead of going online and popping into actual web sites I don’t bother with that any more as it’s infinitely tedious. Rather, I type in enough information to Google and read through any ingredients that may show up within its page. Life’s too short otherwise. So! Brussels sprouts soup. And marjoram came up. Seriously?! Love the stuff scattered over strong tasting salads, like mackerel and beetroot. Then, pine nuts and marjoram made several appearances, along with caraway seeds. Why, I’ve no idea. Using caution I sprinkled over half a teaspoon of dried marjoram into my already cooked soup, just prior to blending it – or so I thought. The smell went whoosh, almighty citrusy in my face – almost in a hedonistic way. Quite simply superb. Until I tasted the soup! What was liquid went down the loo and any solids were binned. After starting again, the following day, I kept clear of Googling and went the safe and simple route. Which is how this was wanted in the first place – perfect for leftovers after the big day that is Christmas. This Brussels Sprouts and Leek Soup is surprisingly warm, sweet, full of flavour and caressingly smooth in texture. Very delicious with deep-fried cubed potatoes (roast them for a healthier option), something I very seldom cook. And with large dollops of ricotta this really hit the spot. Comfort food when I need it, what with dealing with my third edition cold right now. Huh! Needless to say, I’m bored already with this wretched little cold. Even more so than researching recipes!

Brussels Sprouts and Leek Soup, with fried potatoes and ricotta

PREP: about 30 mins ~ COOK: about 1 hour ~ READY IN: 1 hour

ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT NEEDED: immersion/stick blender or blender/liquidiser suitable for puréeing soups (in batches if necessary)


  • 1 x dried bay leaf
  • 1 x carrot, peeled, trimmed and cut in half
  • 1 x celery stalk/rib, rinsed, trimmed and cut in half
  • 200g (7.055 oz) x prepared weight (up to 300g (10.58 oz) needed) Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced crossways into thin discs + extra for garnish
  • 1/4 x teaspoon red pepper flakes – optional
  • 500ml (16.91 fl oz) x cold water
  • 1 x organic vegetable stock cube
  • 200g (7.055 oz) x leeks, white and pale green only, sliced crossways into discs and thoroughly rinsed – 100g (3.527 oz) for the soup (to be puréed) and the other half for garnish
  • oil, for deep-frying
  • about 200g (7.055 oz) x white potatoes per person, peeled and cubed
  • OR trying subbing the fried potatoes with roasted chestnuts
  • ricotta cheese, for serving
  • seasoning, both freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.


  1. Whilst preparing the Brussels sprouts add the water, stock cube, bay leaf, carrot and celery (if using red pepper flakes add those as well) to a large saucepan with lid. Put on electric heat No 4 (out of 6), and as the sprouts are prepared add those to the stock as well. When all sprouts have been prepared clamp on a lid, bring stock to boiling point, reduce heat to No 2 and simmer for about 20 – 30 minutes, or until the sprouts are cooked through. Take off heat, remove bay leaf, carrot pieces and celery and allow soup to cool before puréeing, in batches if necessary.
  2. In the meantime put a small heavy-based saucepan on heat No 3. When leeks are prepared add a little oil to the pan, add the leeks and put on a lid. Cook for around 10 – 15 minutes, checking occasionally and stirring through if necessary. Reduce heat to No 1, keep the lid slightly ajar and continue to cook until they’re beginning to catch on base of pan. If adding half to the soup to be puréed then set those aside. Keeping the remaining leeks to one side of pan add more Brussels sprouts to be pan-fried if those are needed for garnish.
  3. For deep-fried potatoes: I only use about 2.5cms (about 1 inch) of oil, preferring to deep-fry in batches. Using a saucepan without a handle and at back of hob/stove add the oil and put on heat No 3. When oil is hot, and the potatoes are ready to be fried, up the heat to No 4 and add the potatoes by placing some of them on a slotted spoon and carefully adding those to the oil. Cook until nicely golden, remove with the slotted spoon on to kitchen towel/paper and keep warm until needed.
  4.  When soup is cool enough to do so (after removing the bay leaf, carrot and celery) pour all of the stock with some of the cooked sprouts into the blender and purée until smooth. Add as many or as few of the sprouts to gain the consistency needed. Return the soup to the same saucepan and keep hot until needed.
  5. Serve with a garnish of pan-fried leeks and sprouts, fried potatoes and ricotta cheese.

All photographs within (Todas las fotografías dentro de) Feed the Piglet:
All rights reserved (© Todos los derechos reservados) – Copyright © Johnny H Hepburn


  1. I was just wondering the other day how brussels sprout soup would be and voila, here is my answer. It sounds heavenly, love the fried leek, potato and sprout garnish as well as the dollop of ricotta.


    • Isn’t it odd. I’ve never had Brussels sprouts soup before. Which is why I Googled about possible flavour combinations. If you can think of any I’d appreciate your letting me know. For me, as I’m not eating meat atm, I really wanted to keep this as simple as possible. Although, not including roasted chestnuts was pushing it. As I love ’em at this time of year. Hmm, perfect sub for the fried spuds!


    • It is stubborn. Ah, the problem is that every time I get over this, and both times felt fine, I’ve had one of those heavier days. With early starts and very, very late finishes. The following night I’m almost back to square one again. Hah, hold the early starts, please!


  2. I am appreciating the taste of leek more each year. I use to use them only when I made Japanese ‘nabemono’ (cooked/served in pot food), such as sukiyaki and shabu-shabu, but now I use them in varieties of dishes because of its magical flavor, which enhances the dish. Here, fused with Brussels sprouts and spices, it is very appetizing. I love the French-fried potato and dollop of ricotta to enjoy with.


    • Especially glad of your comment as you’ve made me realise I don’t do a lot with leeks. Yes, I include them in risottos, pastas, stocks and soups. But I don’t really use them as the star of the show. Must look close to home for recipe ideas. Let’s face it, they’re the national symbol of Wales – not so very far away. Okay, the other side of the country from me. Still, I bet there are some really nice recipes for them. And will check out your dishes mentioned as now you’ve got me curious about them. Thank you!


  3. Oh my. I thought I’d turned every vegetable into a soup over the many years of cooking, but I’ve never used brussels sprouts! What a fabulous idea. Gorgeous soup.


    • You and me both. The countless times I’ve cooked soups of all sorts. And it never occurred to me to use them. Oh, I forgot to tell you that I won’t be shaving raw Brussels sprouts any time soon 🙂 Even though I’ve been wolfing loads of raw crispy salads recently. Anyway, what did surprise me was boiling the sprouts within the stock itself. Of course, these days sprouts are so much sweeter and less bitter than they used to be.


  4. Hope you shake the cold soon! Maybe come to Sydney or Perth, Perth was registering 40°C today, and they are playing test cricket over there, ick. I’ve been seeing a few brussel sprouts recipes, but usually crispy roasted or maybe braised. Haven’t thought of soup before. Will remember not to add marjoram if I make sprouts soup – that sounded terrible!! Your actual recipe on the other hand sounds delicious.


    • Ick?! Cricket?? I’ve never quite understood that game. And yes, would love to pop over for a little bit of heat. Actually, we’re just in double figures this weekend. But it’s incredibly damp. Couple that with my being so close to the shoreline…

      Braised Brussels sprouts. Now you’ve got me thinking. I have pretty awful memories of braised leeks from years back. Will have to get over that phobia and look for differing recipes. And I must buy in chestnuts as they’re one of my favourite flavour combos. Even if I can’t stand the idea of eating bacon, atm. Or meat for that matter. What?! Faux turkey for Christmas Day?? Never!


      • Funny you mention awful memories of braised leeks, Ken over at the Garum Factory just posted a gorgeous looking one, and he’s also suggested duck fat braised leeks (I guess only if you like duck fat). The last braised brussel sprouts involved a sweet-sour mixture, but NOT like Chinese takeaway sweet & sour chicken!
        Speaking of faux turkey, I read about vegetarian turducken somewhere, called Tofucken. Which just seems. So. Wrong.
        Off to think happier food thoughts, making banana cake truffles today, from failed banana cake! 🙂


    • Hah! It’s actually incredibly plain and simple. Which surprised me as I was hoping to add some spice and herbs. Nope. Not even red pepper flakes. Although, if only I could still buy green finger chillies…


    • Thanks. The cherry on top made me smile. Odd thing is I can’t stand the smell of deep-frying. So I very seldom do it at this time of year. As for the soup, this is really meant to be a simple base to be able to chuck in all of those delicious leftovers after Christmas. As soups go it’s not that exciting!


  5. Hey great idea. I have some leeks now that I was going to make soup with, no brussel sprouts at the moment in my kitchen but yours is very interesting. Am trying to think up an interesting variation to the leek soup right now!


    • Oh so terribly wrong. I suppose sprouts were bitter years ago, which might help to explain quite a lot of recipes using both marjoram and caraway seeds. For me it really was the worst soup I’d ever made. Which I’m not used to. Normally they turn out as planned. And this one did – in the end. If that’s happening to me by researching online, albeit once, what’s happening to other people that don’t necessarily know how to cook!? I don’t want to be invited for dindins, that’s for sure!

      Oh, must pop in and have a look at your version. That’s bound to be a treat.


  6. I have never had brussels sprouts soup so this is my one and only chance to try. I love the way you’ve combined ingredients and topped it up with fried potatoes, panfried leeks and sprouts and ricotta cheese. This sounds absolutely delicious. The kind of soup you eat without talking…until the plate is empty. Merry Christmas and a Happy and Successful 2014. Best regards!


    • Regardless of the toppings this is a very simple and surprisingly delicate little soup. And perfect for during Christmas week to use up leftovers. I’m also wondering what it might taste like with a stronger Cheddar or a cheese that’s okay to grate directly into the soup. Thank you for your lovely sentiments. And, likewise – have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!


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