In the book French Women Don't Get Fat, the author recommends, as a kick off to becoming French, that you start your French journey with a leek soup weekend. A leek soup weekend is when you eat nothing but leek soup and drink leek broth and water. When I first "became French" I was very scared of leek soup weekend and skipped it. However last April I went to visit my parents in Hawaii for two weeks and gained 4 pounds while I was there! To offset the weight gain and get myself back on track, I decided to do a leek soup weekend. The leek soup I made was so thin, very watery, extremely unappetizing with yucky chunks of boiled leek in it. Needless to say, I didn't make it 24 hours eating this disgusting fare.
However, for the past two weeks, we have been receiving leeks in our final CSA baskets of the season. Finally, I had about 10 of them crowding my crisper drawer and it was time to clear some space. Last night I decided to make a starter of leek soup as I knew I could do so much better than last time if I just put my mind to it. What I created had very subtle flavors from white wine and chicken stock, had a little "meat" to it with added olive oil, and was chock full of yummy, sauteed pieces of leek. Much, much better. Now I understand leek soup weekend. I could happily survive the weekend on this soup. Last night it was relegated to a mere starter to a main course of baked salmon, but I can't wait for lunch today to give it a starring role all it's own.
Leek Soup by Joie de vivre
Made at least 8 big servings
10 leeks, cleaned and chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
3-4 Tbls. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup white wine
2 quarts of chicken stock
*Note* If you have never worked with leeks before, the key to using them is getting them clean. The way farmers grow them is to mound dirt around the base to make for a longer usable white part. This results in lots of dirt in those little groves. What I do is chop off the green leaves. These are good for stock but are not going to be used for the soup. We are working with the white parts here. Chop off the root of the white part, turn sidewise and slice long ways down the middle. Then turn the leek and chop short ways into 1/2 inch size chunks. Put these chunks into a salad spinner. Continue in this manner until all of the leeks are cut. Put the salad spinner insert containing the leeks into the salad spinner bowl and fill the bowl with cool water. Swish around the leeks with your hands, lift out this insert and drain the water. Repeat 3-4 times until you are convinced the leeks are clean.
1. Heat the olive oil in a big soup pot over medium low heat.
2. Add the leeks and sautee them, stirring frequently, until they are very limp and starting to stick to the bottom slightly (maybe 10 minutes) Don't let them burn!
3. Add the white wine and scrape the bottom of the pot clean with a wooden spoon.
4. Season with salt and pepper to taste, give the pot a good stir and then add the chicken stock.
5. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the soup to a boil.
6. Ladle into soup bowls and enjoy.