Seasonal Flavors: Potato Ramp Soup

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Wild leeks on white background

I’ve written before about my neighbor John Loehr and his cooking skills. He tells the Gazette’s Clover Carroll that he gives me all the recipes for my column—which is not true. Still, I forgive him because he and his wonderful wife Gwen continue to invite us to dinner and provide lovely hospitality.

Before the plague (Covid), we attended one such dinner on a lovely May evening and were served this delicious soup. It’s John’s version of vichyssoise, (potato leek soup), but instead of the leek, he substitutes the ramp.

There is something so charming about a food that is only available once each year. Ramps are mild, wild onions that grow in the mountains, and John sources his from his native state of West Virginia.  This makes them perfect for this soup, since they don’t overpower the other flavors. I watched John as he finished the preparation of this soup, and it’s the kind of thing you make by feel rather than by strict measurement. So be bold and approximate. I’ve done my best here to replicate what John made that evening. Note that John used duck broth, but I’ll just assume you don’t have that sitting in your freezer.

Vichyssoise is often served cold, but we enjoyed this soup warm.

Potato Ramp Soup

  • 1 quart chicken broth 
  • 3 T butter
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • A handful of ramps, cleaned and chopped
  • A glug of cognac
  • 1 cup of Greek yogurt

In a heavy Dutch oven, sauté the ramps and the potatoes in melted butter, till the ramps are softened. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook gently until the potatoes are soft, 10-15 minutes. Use an immersion blender to emulsify the soup, taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Lower the heat and add the ‘glug’ of cognac, and the yogurt. Stir to blend and heat thoroughly. 

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