Winter soup with caramelized leeks
This soup is economical, quick to prepare and incredibly flavorful. You will obtain a richer taste if you use broth rather than water. A dollop of cream and a sprig of fresh herbs in each bowl adds a nice touch. But you may prefer the soup without, for any additions tend to obscure the pure, sweet, intense flavor of the caramelized leeks.
1 tsp. butter
1 tsp. olive oil
4 cups (1 liter) homemade chicken broth, vegetable broth or water
1/2 tsp. sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
crème fraîche or heavy cream (optional)
fresh herbs: dill, cilantro or basil (optional)
Peel away the outer layer of the leeks. Chop off the bottoms and the dark green tops. Cut the remainder of each leek horizontally into three sections. Rinse these carefully to remove any sand. Now slice the sections vertically.
Heat the butter and olive oil to sizzling in a large soup pot. Add the leeks and sauté over high heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. The leeks should turn golden and even a deep brown in places — but be careful not to let them burn.
Add the broth or water. Peel and chop up the potato and add. Bring to a boil. Add the sea salt and grind in some black pepper. Reduce the heat and simmer the soup for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are very tender.
Remove from heat and purée using a countertop blender or hand blender. If the soup seems to be too thick, add a little water.
When ready to serve, reheat gently. Add a dollop of cream if you like and sprinkle on some freshly snipped herbs. Serves 3-4.
For a vegan version, omit the butter and cream.