Silky Leek Soup

Sherbrooke Record - - LOCAL SPORTS - By Katie Work­man

No mat­ter how many daz­zling things we have the good for­tune to eat in our lives, we of­ten re­mem­ber the sim­plest meals with as much power and af­fec­tion as the fan­ci­est. A hum­ble, pureed veg­etable soup is among those par­tic­u­lar plea­sures. Also, Prous­tian prose aside, if you’re feel­ing lazy, you can get from a few in­gre­di­ents to de­li­cious­ness in no time.

The only work in­volved here is re­mem­ber­ing to stir the leeks fairly of­ten for 20 min­utes. You’ll want to keep them on medium-low heat and take the full amount of cook­ing time so they be­come melt­ingly ten­der and only lightly browned; turn­ing up the heat to rush the process may re­sult in them burn­ing, and they won’t get as lushly soft over higher heat.

You could ab­so­lutely add some fresh herbs here, from basil to thyme to plain old pars­ley if you want a dif­fer­ent twist, but taste the soup as-is first. You may very well want to stick with the sim­ple ver­sion where the flavour of the leeks shines through un­ob­structed (it’s a bit richer than you might think). If you do want to add fresh herbs, they can be added at the end when you puree the soup, or just strew a few leaves, chopped or whole, on top of each serv­ing.

Use veg­etable broth and the soup is veg­e­tar­ian. Skip the cream (and use an ex­tra ta­ble­spoon of oil in­stead of the but­ter) and it is dairy-free and ve­gan. It can be made ahead and kept in the re­frig­er­a­tor for a cou­ple of days. Ei­ther re­heat over low heat, or serve chilled. It will thicken in the fridge, so may need an ex­tra glug or two of broth or wa­ter.

SILKY LEEK SOUP Start to fin­ish: Serves 4

40 min­utes

1 ta­ble­spoon un­salted but­ter

1 ta­ble­spoon olive oil, plus ex­tra for driz­zling 6 large leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced and well rinsed

1 gar­lic clove, minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pep­per to taste

1 (14.5 ounce) can less-sodium chicken or veg­etable broth

3 ta­ble­spoons heavy cream

Chopped fresh herbs to serve (op­tional)

In a large pot, heat the but­ter and 1 ta­ble­spoon olive oil over medium-low heat un­til the but­ter is melted. Add the leeks and gar­lic, sea­son with salt and pep­per, and saute, stir­ring fre­quently, for about 20 min­utes un­til they are very lightly browned and quite ten­der. Remove a few ta­ble­spoons of the leek mix­ture and set aside. Add the broth and 2 cups of wa­ter and bring to a sim­mer over medium heat. Cook un­til the leeks are very soft, about 10 min­utes.

Puree the leeks and liq­uid in a blender or food pro­ces­sor un­til com­pletely smooth, and re­turn to the pot. Do this in two batches, trans­fer­ring the first half to a bowl if nec­es­sary (too much hot liq­uid in a blender or food pro­ces­sor is not a good idea). Stir in the heavy cream, and taste and ad­just sea­son­ing as needed. Serve im­me­di­ately, or re­frig­er­ate and serve chilled. Place a small mound of the re­served sau­teed leeks on top of each serv­ing, and give each bowl a driz­zle of olive oil and a sprin­kle of any minced herbs you like. Sea­son once more with salt and pep­per.

Nu­tri­tion in­for­ma­tion per serv­ing:

184 calo­ries; 86 calo­ries from fat; 11 g fat ( 5 g sat­u­rated; 0 g trans fats); 23 mg choles­terol; 541 mg sodium; 20 g car­bo­hy­drate; 2 g fiber; 6 g sugar; 3 g pro­tein.

Katie Work­man has writ­ten two cook­books fo­cused on easy, fam­ily-friendly cook­ing, “Din­ner Solved!” and “The Mom 100 Cook­book.” She blogs at: http://www.the­­man.

(The As­so­ci­ated Press)

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