Creamy potato leek soup is perfect for your next dinner party and can be made in advance! This vegan version uses a few simple ingredients to let the flavours of the ingredients shine. The addition of the nutritional yeast is optional, but gives the soup an added cheesy flavour and a kick of vitamin B12!
Place the cashews in a large glass measuring cup or bowl and pour boiling water on top of them. Let them soak for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut the ends and the dark green parts off of the leeks (you will end up with around 1 pound of leeks once you cut these parts off) and slice the leeks cross-ways into 1/2-inch pieces. Place the sliced leeks in a colander and rinse well (leeks tend to hide a lot of dirt in them). Set the leeks aside.
In a large heavy-bottomed soup pot or cocotte (I used a Staub cocotte), heat the olive oil and vegan butter on medium-low heat. Add the leeks and cook stirring occasionally, until they are soft and have 'sweat', approximately 10 minutes. Be sure to avoid browning the leeks. Add the celery and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the celery is softened.
While the soup is cooking, drain the cashews and place in a high-powered blender with 1 cup of water. Blend until smooth, around 2 minutes, and set aside.
Add the potatoes and broth, bring to a simmer, and cover the pot with a lid. Cook until the potatoes are soft, approximately 30-40 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and carefully puree the soup with an immersion blender until smooth.
Add the cashew cream and nutritional yeast (if using), stir well, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately and garnish with chives. You can store the soup in a covered container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
*I like to use the Better than Bouillon chicken-flavoured vegetable concentrate. I bought mine at Choices Market in Kelowna