Comfort, Art and a Cute Mustache

The proposal to do recipes inspired by Richard Armitage’s characters (or himself) for FanstRAvaganza week was a great idea, so I eagerly agreed to contribute. I figured there would be a run on recipes that were either chocolate or Guy of Gisborne (medieval), both my favourite areas, so I thought instead I would cook somewhat outside my comfort zone. What I came up with is deceptively simple: soup! I say deceptively because I consider the ability to make good soup to be one of the defining factors in being a good cook. I chose a French style potato soup because 1) my Gran had a recipe that I think was inspired by Julia Child and 2) Claude Monet, who Richard played in The Impressionists, was as well known for being a gastronome as he was an artist. Also, in the winter, what is better than a cheap, rib-sticking, comforting homemade soup? I hope you enjoy! Note: I substituted half & half for cream to cut some fat content for us.


French Potato & Leek Soup

3 large potatoes, peeled & cubed

2 leeks, white light parts only, well cleaned, thinly sliced

3 T. butter for sauteing

4 cups chicken stock

—-For cream mixture:

1/4 cup flour

3 T. butter

1 cup cream OR half & half

Dash of garlic salt

1/4 tsp. each: dried basil, thyme

1 tsp. parsley

Salt & pepper to taste

Optional garnishes: crisp crumbled bacon, grated cheese, dollop of sour cream

1) In large pot, saute leeks in butter, medium heat, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, till leeks are tender.

2) Add potatoes and chicken stock. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

3) Prepare cream mixture near end of potato cook time: Melt butter in saucepan, smoothly whisk in flour, cook a minute or two but keep it tan (this is roux), then whisk in half & half and spices. Heat to just below boil, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. It will thicken.

4) When potatoes are done, add cream mixture to pot, stir to combine, return to boil then reduce and simmer low heat for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5) Puree half or all the soup (your preference, we like a rustic texture), return to pot, stir to combine, season again if needed with salt & pepper.

6) Serve, garnish as desired. My family likes hot stuff, additional garnishes for their portions were paprika and a splash of hot pepper sauce such as Tabasco.

Makes about 6-8 servings.

Donna's French Potato & Leek Soup

For my final French touch, soup is plated on Gran’s Haviland Limoges china, whose clay painting techniques attracted Monet’s attention. Many Haviland patterns were influenced by The Impressionist movement.

Wine pairing: Best served with sauvignon blanc or white sancerre. If made without leeks, it would go well with pinot noir (one of Richard’s preferred wines).

This soup freezes well. When served cold in the USA, it is called vichyssoise. Even better 2nd day! For variation, before reheating toss in cubed cooked chicken or ham, or after reheat, top with chili!

This recipe and photographs were submitted by Donna

Bon Appetit,




4 thoughts on “Comfort, Art and a Cute Mustache

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