Soupe aux poireaux caramelisés

leek soup1Soup, glorious winter soup. The glory being that it’s so simple to make — two leeks, one potato, a little broth and that’s it. A peasant approach to a winter’s supper. And yet, and yet. What lifts this soup out of the ordinary is the manner of cooking the leeks. They are sautéed until they turn a deep golden brown, intensifying their natural sweetness into a rich caramelized flavor. When blended, the browned leaves of the leeks add dark flecks of texture to the velvet of the soup. Simple, but complex. Sophisticatedly satisfying.

Soupe aux poireaux caramelisés / Winter soup with caramelized leeks

Being a winter vegetable, the leek comes into its own in January, when the sweet peas of spring and red ripe tomatoes of summer are but a distant memory. I usually pick up some leeks at the market on Sundays, and decide how to use them as the week rolls along. This week I had been planning to use my leeks in a quiche to put on this site — but when I opened the vegetable bin the other day they seemed to be calling to me: ‘Soup, soup!’

As it turned out, the leeks were right. One of the main things I’ve learned about cooking is that you need to follow your instincts. I had never made this soup before. Just created it on the spot. When my daughter got home from school, she let out a little whoop of joy when she saw the soup. The recipe says it serves 3-4 but that may be a wild exaggeration. The two of us finished it off in one sitting, with seconds all around. Happy cooking!

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