Lone leek soup

It's strange, I suppose, given the season, but recently my kitchen has been occupied by soups. Cream of mushroom, borscht, cream of asparagus, and today, leek.

The sole leek turned up at the Orleans market, the last of its kind standing tribute to a passing season beside bunches of spring onions and garlic. I snatched up the cold weather warrior and brought it home to serve as rainy day companion to the ceramic orange soup pot.

Yesterday evening, as the air thickened with humidity and a stiff breeze began to form, I chopped it thin and threw it to be consumed by the crackle of a sizzling pat of butter. Translucent and left to simmer in a pint of chicken stock, the green and ivory slices turned slippery and tender. With a splash of milk and the whir of the food processor, the mixture turned into a rich, creamy soup.

Just back from a pre-storm walk, we dipped into the pot with a sort of adventurers' delight. The sky darkened beyond the window panes, and our spoons muddied themselves with the skins of winter. Tomorrow, perhaps, our appetites will follow the weather as it slips back into the season. For now, we're back to the hungry month of February.


Serves 2-3

Chop 1 large leek into thin slices; use all of bulb and almost all but the last few inches of green. In a large soup pot, melt 2 tablespoons butter and sauté leek until translucent. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Simmer in 1 and 1/2-2 cups chicken or fish stock for 30 minutes, or until tender. Add a dash (1/2 cup or to taste) whole milk. Puree in food processor. Season with salt and pepper and heat to desired temperature. Serve hot.


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