Soup is binary. At its best, it’s the ultimate comfort fare – a mystifying combination of flavors and textures that spoon-feeds its eater pure unadulterated warmth and nourishment. At its worst, it’s a sloppy sludge of lopsided flavors and offensive texture destined for the compost bin.
Adding lots of random things to a pot and heating them up is a risky move. Sure, some combos are as old as time (we’re looking at you, butternut squash and green apple), but the more complex creative stuff takes a real kitchen maverick to not screw up. You’ve gotta have an intimate understanding of flavor combinations and an acute textural grasp to master the art of soup making, and let me tell you, I am no virtuoso. Yeah – we can all follow a recipe, but give me a farmers’ market and a pot to work with and you’d better find an excuse to cancel our dinner plans.
Perhaps it’s the past few unfortunate batches of botched broth that’re tearing into my ego, but I’ve been feeling pretty down and out about this whole soup thing. Then, I found this recipe and all hope was restored.
With relatively few ingredients and a short to medium cook time, it’s nearly impossible to fuse flavors that aren’t meant to be. And because it’s blended, you can always add more broth as a Hail Mary if your soup looks more like concrete than dinner.
So, how about all the garlic?? Yes, this recipe uses A LOT of that stuff. Slow sautéing all those cloves catches garlic’s sweet spot – right between its raw spicy moment and its toasted nutty one. Sautéing them until they’re super tender but not browned reveals their velvety, confit-like texture and mellow aromatic sweetness that sets the tone for the rest of the dish. The result is a savory, silky smooth soup that’s completed with a runny poached egg and some crispy breadcrumbs.
Unlike other soups, I find this one is best eaten right after blending. Add a little extra broth if/when you heat up the leftovers to avoid sloppy (not silky) seconds.
*Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit
Ingredients (serves 2)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ½ heads garlic - cloves, peeled
½ large leek, halved lengthwise, very thinly sliced (white and light green parts only, dark green parts discarded)
½ tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
4 small-medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into small pieces
2 cups vegetable broth (or Better Than Bouillon and water)
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 drop distilled white vinegar
Fresh flat leaf parsley
Flaky sea salt
Tear the baguette into pieces and place in a food processer. Pulse until bread has become chunky (not dusty) crumbs.
Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet. Add the breadcrumbs and salt to taste and toast, stirring often, until golden brown. Remove from skillet and set aside.
*Make ahead! These last one week.
* Variation: Use ½ regular olive oil and ½ roasted garlic infused olive oil
Heat olive oil and butter in a small-medium pot over low-medium heat. Add garlic, leeks and thyme and stir often until the garlic is super soft. If the garlic starts to brown, turn the heat down.
Add the potatoes and broth and bring pot to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are very tender, about 20-25 minutes. Add the sour cream.
Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until the texture is uniform. Add salt to taste and some extra broth if the soup is too think for your liking. Cover and set aside.
Fill a skillet with water and a drop of white vinegar and bring to an almost-simmer.
Crack each egg into a separate ramekin or small bowl.
Gently slip each egg into the water with enough room between each one. Use a rubber spatula to coerce the dancing wisps into the center of the egg. Once the yolks have set (about two minutes), lift each egg out with a slotted spoon and gently transfer to a paper towel.
Ladle some soup into a bowl. Top with one poached egg, a sprinkle of breadcrumbs, some fresh parsley, flaky sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.