The Best Leek Potato Soup Ever

From Cook’s Illustrated April 2010

Leek Potato Soup with Garlic Croutons

4 medium leeks, white and light-green parts halved lengthwise, washed, and sliced thin (about 4 cups), dark-green parts halved, washed, and cut into 2-inch pieces

2 c chicken or vegetable broth

2 c water

4 T unsalted butter

1 medium onion, chopped medium (about 1 cup)

1 small russet potato (about 6 oz), peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/4 inch slices

1 bay leaf

1 (4-inch) sprig fresh thyme or tarragon (I used dried thyme…it’s winter)

1 large slice high-quality sandwich bread, lightly toasted and torn into 1/2-inch pieces

ground black pepper

1.  Bring dark-green leek pieces, broth, and water to boil in large saucepan over high heat.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes.  Strain broth through fin-mesh strainer into medium bowl, press on solids to extract as much liquid as possible;  set aside.  Discard solids in strainer and rinse out saucepan.

2.  Melt butter in now empty saucepan over medium-low heat.  When butter foams, stir in sliced leeks, onion, and 1 tespoon salt.  Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes.

3.  Increase heat to high, stir in reserved broth, potato, bay leaf, and herb sprig and bring to boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.  Add toasted bread and simmer until bread is completely saturated and starts to break down, about 5 minutes.

4.  Remove and discard bay leaf and herbs sprig (if using dried thyme…let it go).  Blend in blender or use immersion blender until smooth and creamy.  Return to simmer.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with garnish (garlic croutons).

Garlic Croutons

1 large garlic clove , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 1/4 teaspoons)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

3 large slices high quality sandwich bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)

Instructions

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine garlic, salt, and oil in small bowl; let stand 20 minutes, then pour through fine-mesh strainer into medium bowl. Add bread cubes to oil and toss to coat. Spread bread cubes in even layer on rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 15 minutes. Cool on baking sheet to room temperature. (Can be covered and stored at room temperature up to 24 hours.)

    Garlic Croutons

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