One day, M asked me if I liked leeks. I had no idea. Would I eat a soup made with them, garlic, and potatoes? Well, sure. And thus, this winter’s love affair with soup began. This recipe is based on Jaques Pepin’s Garlic Soup , but we modified it a bit to our taste. Though he calls it garlic soup and there is a TON of garlic in it, the taste is really NOT overpowering. Do not be timid with the garlic! I call it potato and leek soup. We used a Cuisinart Smart Stick for the blending, and it worked great! You can also put the cooked veggies in a food processor for the same result. Ours came out a bit more green than his (we used a little more of the green part of the leeks), but it was still fragrant, creamy, and delicious. It serves 6-8 people and takes around 45 minutes to an hour to make with all the prep.
Who knew how easy and superior-tasting homemade croutons were???
2 ROADS TO CROUTONS:
1. Jaques’ method: Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet, add the bread cubes and sauté, stirring almost continuously, until they are evenly browned on all sides, remove with a slotted spoon, and set aside.
2. The M method: Toss bread cubes with olive oil (and herbs if desired), lay out on a baking sheet, bake at 400 degrees for a few minutes- keep an eye on them and remove pan when they start to brown. They can cool directly on the pan (and it keeps them crunchy).
Jaques Pepin’s Soup:
M and m’s soup:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 medium leeks, trimmed (leaving most of the green), split, washed, and sliced
- 12 garlic cloves
- 7 cups chicken, beef, or vegeatble stock or low-salt canned chicken broth (you can even use water if you don't have these, that's how delightfully rich this soup is!)
- 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 2 cups cubed (1/2-inch) firm-textured white bread
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy pot.
- Add the leeks and garlic and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.
- Add the stock, potatoes, and salt and bring to a boil.
- Cover, reduce the heat, and boil gently for 30 minutes.
- When soup is cooked, use immersion blender to get it to the consistency desired. (Blend less for a chunkier soup, more for a smoother velvety finish. Obviously.)
- Stir the butter into the hot soup and serve with the croutons.
- If you want a truly decadently soup, you can enrich it by adding a cup of light cream at the last minute.