Sunday, 16 January 2011

Welsh Dragon Soup

Welsh Dragon Leek Soup with a fiery attitude.
In other words a 'Leek and potato soup with a chilli hit' served with a fiery Welsh dragon crouton aka savoury shortbread.

Even though I was born and bred in Wales. Leeks did not feature heavily in my diet. Neither at school or at home. So to make amends, the past few years I have been making dishes that feature this elegant, tall long Sally of the vegetable world. I would even go as far as describing the leeks as the Celtic beauty of the vegetable world: green and white. This may make some sense as to why it was claimed as the national symbol of Wales.
Back to the soup – traditional Welsh Leek soup is known in Welsh as: Cawl Cennin or Cawl Mamgu is made with leeks of course, bacon and chicken stock. As well as making this soup suitable for vegetarians and vegans. I have brought this old fashioned soup up to date by adding only a few flakes of chilli. I don’t think anyone should take exception with this, as Michelin and celebrity chefs are always tampering with traditional recipes. Anyway, I think this version would be appreciated and welcomed by many, especially this time of year when the weather outside is miserably wet and cold. A little fire in your belly from the watchful Welsh dragon can only warm you up: inside and out.

By the way feast your eyes on these huge leeks, that's my hand caressing them. I saw them last year at a Garden Show. If you want to read more about the Welsh leek and its symbolism for Wales, please follow this link.
Potato, Leek and Chilli Soup
Serves 4 – 6
2 tablespoons olive oil
400g leeks, washed well and finely sliced
600g potatoes, peeled and chopped into rough cubes
2 – 2 ½ pints vegetable stock
½ - 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
Salt to taste
Heat the oil and cook the leeks gently for about 8 minutes without colouring and until they begin to wilt. Add the potatoes, chilli flakes and stock. Cover and bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 25 – 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
I like my soup a bit on the chunky side and with some texture, so I gently crushed the vegetables with a potato masher, but if you wish cool a little then puree in a liquidizer until smooth.


  1. Looks good to me - love the Welsh dragon shortbread - where's the recipe for that?!


  2. Wow, those leeks at the show are MASSIVE! Just think how much soup you could make with them...

    I think the idea of putting chilli in things that don't traditionally call for it is a good one. It can add a bit of extra interest to what might otherwise be a rather bland dish. We keep a tub of chilli flakes close at hand in the kitchen at all times.

  3. Wow...look at the size of those leeks!! Do you know I grew leeks for the first time this year and I grew them all wrong! I found out a few days ago, the transplants should have been put in a dug trench etc..and that's how to get the long white parts. Here I was so proud of mine ))))!

    The Dragon savory cracker looks so beautiful here with what I imagine by the components to be a delightful chunky hint of chilli hot soup.

  4. I like your leek soup recipe, the pinch of chili flakes is just the right seasoning for this kind of soup. I make a similar soup with the addition of a smashed clove of garlic, white wine and dried herbs. I also melted a little Parmesan cheese on top, and I blend mine a bit more but also like it to be slightly chunky.
    I think one of those big leeks would feed a family of 4 for a year! I love the dragon cookie, did you make it? Now that is an intricate cut out cookie!
    Happy New Year and best wishes, Patty

  5. I love your savory shortbread dragon! I love dragons:) I remember those leeks from last years post too. That was such an awesome garden show that you got to go to!

  6. i've never seen leeks like that before, they look too huge and perfect to be real. i haven't ever cooked with leeks, pretty much the only interaction i've had with them was trying to make leek paper for a bookmaking class--i stupidly sandwiched the paper inside my binder to dry and it scented all my stuff in the most foul way, couldn't get rid of it for weeks.

    did you know that as leeks grow they pick up soil that stays trapped in between its inner layers? that's why it's so gritty if you don't take the layers apart and soak them in a tub of water to wash before cooking. i just learned that on a cooking show the other day.

  7. Mouthwateringly yummy!
    Did you make the Dragon shortbread?

    Sandie xx

  8. I've not used leeks for a while, so it is about time and a great reminder. A really tasty soup too. I cannot believe the size of those giant leeks!

  9. A perfect soup for a cold, wet winter day. Now, I'm off to learn about leeks in Scotland.

  10. I cannot believe the size of those leeks! Wow! The soup sounds really good, and I love the dragon crouton.

  11. Interesting, because my husband is also Welsh ans he didn't eat leeks when he was growing up either, even though his family would say they are true to their roots. However, he has grown to be a wonderful cook, so I;m going to show this to him. Cheers, K x

  12. Mmmm Leeks! Those are amazing...

  13. I just love leek and potato soup - think the addition of chilli would make it even better.

    The savoury shortbread sounds really interesting, and looks amazing.

  14. Holy moly those leeks are huge!! And I love leek and potato soup. When I first made it, my husband was lingering around the kitchen, and I could feel that he was having some negative thoughts about the soup. But then he tried it, and now it is his favorite soup. hehe

  15. Looks lovely! I always laugh when people complain about dishes not being "authentic" or "traditional" because often to be authentic or traditional is to improvise and use what you have on hand, in my opinion. Of course, that can go to far but then not all things have to be traditional to be good! I add chili flakes to almost everything :)

  16. I love the idea of the dragon in the soup - both in the chilli and the crouton - gorgeous

  17. hi:) this dish is really fantastic looking! really interesting too. love the photos :)

  18. that is THE COOLEST crouton I've ever seen!

  19. This sounds yum. Leek and potato is one of my favourite soups - great idea to warm it up at this time of year. Oh - and I love your Welsh dragon shaped 'coutons'.
    Aren't those jumbo leeks beautiful - mine never look quite like that!!

  20. Thanks Jane aka marigold jam.
    The Welsh dragon shortbread has just been posted :)

    Mark Willis.
    I know, they certainly are that is why I wanted to share them Again with readers who may have missed out on the original posting. Yesph a lot of Leek soup!.

    Thanks for appreciating the addition of chilli in the soup. I'd be lost in the kitchen without my many variations of chillies: flakes, ground, jars, puree etc.

    I can empathise with your mistake in growing leeks as I made the very same mistake when I first grew my batch. They were still okay, baby leeks.

    Thank you Pacheco Patty.
    The generous pinch of chili flakes ...

    I like the sound of your soup too, especially with the addition of smashed garlic. I don't tend to cook with wines very much though, as I only came to drinking alcohol at a much later age.

    I did make the dragon shortbread using a dragon cookie cutter.

    Happy New Year and best wishes to you too Patty.

    Thank you Carissa :)

  21. Emily.
    It was lovely to read your comment and share your experiences of the tall long leek. Please rest assured I had never ever seen leeks like this before either. These are grown purely for competition, rather than taste!

    I was surprised to read that you've never cooked with leeks. I just assumed most people had. Silly really, because it was not a vegetable that entered my parents home. It was funny to read abotu your making leek paper for a bookmaking class- I've never heard of the leek being used in that manner before. Oh I can imagine the smell too :)

    Ah about your tip on the soil that stays trapped in between its inner layers. Yes, I had often wondered why that happened and I know have some insight after having grown them. I appreicate you tip on washing, but check out mine too, which I have to admit I picked up on a TV cook show too.
    Begin by making a vertical split about halfway down the centre of each one, then do this again, so you have four fantails. Then wash clean of grit by running them under cold water. Amazing. Kind wishes

    Thank you Sandie of Sandie's Patch.
    Yes I did but relied on my Dragon cutter for the shape. I've just posted the recipe.

    I know those leeks are giants! I actually saw them when I was in your neck in the woods, I think you were away to Cyprus on holiday around then.

    Thank you Rosaria.

    Thank you so much Rose.

  22. Thanks Karen.
    I remember reading about your SW qualitification and your links to Wales then. I didn't know that your hubby was Welsh though :) Its interesting that he too didn't eat leeks when he was growing up either. Affirmation that I am not alone here.

    Thank you affectioknit.

    Brownieville Girl.
    I was so delighted to hear from you. Thank you so much. I really liked your entry for last months NCR.

    Leek and potato soup doesn't generally excite everyone, but it is such a warming and comforting soup.

    Thank you RuckusButt.
    I really enjoyed your sharing your thoughts and peoples reactions towards dishes not being "authentic" or "traditional". A bigger smile appeared on my face when I further read 'I add chili flakes to almost everything' :)

  23. Thank you Johanna GGG.

    Thank you Deliah's Deli :)

    Thank you so, So much Veggie Mama.

    Thanks Ruthdigs.
    Yeah my leeks have never grown to that size either, but lets remind ourselves - big does not always mean flavour. By the way Happy New Year to you.

  24. I made this tasty soup yesterday & my husband & I loved it to bits!


    I just moved my blog to Come over @ my blog & check it out! You need to update your RSS!

  25. Thanks for letting me know Sophie.
    I am always so pleased when fellow bloggers tell me a recipe was a hit (and soemtimes maybe not).

  26. Your blog should get grants from the ministry of health!

  27. WOW!!!!! Are those really leeks.. not a photo-altered picture? That's amazing.. Love it!

  28. Thanks Niki.
    Hand on heart that is what the leeks really looked like.


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