Spring Leek Soup is the perfect way to celebrate the tender leeks of spring! Think of this soup as the delicate cousin of French Onion Soup. Both soups are topped with an oversized, melted cheese covered crouton, but instead of the deep, dark broth of French Onion soup, this leek soup has a light buttery broth and is prepared in a fraction of the time – 20 minutes from start to finish.
It’s curious but true that my food cravings follow the seasons. In the fall and winter, my hunger drifts to the deep, rich flavors of braised meats, roasted root vegetables, and long simmered soups and sauces. But when the crocus and daffodil show their pretty faces, it’s light, delicate flavors that I want.
It was two years ago that I scratched down ‘Spring Onion Soup with Gruyere’ in the notebook I keep of recipe ideas. The thought to make it with leeks instead of onions finally moved me to act. (I love leeks in soup! Like this Potato Leek Soup.) Soft, buttery leeks, a delicate broth, tangy-sweet Meyer lemon, crispy toasts and melted Gruyere – who could resist? It makes me wonder what other little gems are sitting there, scrawled on a page, waiting.
When you brown short ribs before braising, or caramelize onions for French Onion Soup, it’s an exercise in patience. This soup is just the opposite.
To keep the flavors light and fresh, you’ll want to keep the leeks moving in the pan – soften them, but don’t let them brown. And once you add the broth, you’ll bring it to a boil, just for a moment, to marry the flavors and that’s it.
Spring Leek Soup with Gruyere Toasts
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 large leeks white and light green parts, sliced in half longwise, rinsed and thinly sliced crosswise
- pinch fine sea salt
- 4 cups chicken stock
- pinch ground white pepper
- 1/2 Meyer Lemon juice and zest
- 4, 1/2- inch slices crusty bread toasted (I used whole wheat levain)
- 3 ounces Gruyere cheese shredded
- 1 green onion thinly sliced (for garnish)
- Preheat broiler.
- Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
- Add leeks and a pinch of sea salt, to help sweat out the liquid. Cook and stir until leeks are tender but not brown, about 3 minutes.
- Add stock and white pepper, bring to boil. Stir in lemon juice and zest. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and white pepper.
- Ladle soup into 4 broiler-safe serving bowls. Place one slice of toasted bread over each serving, pressing it down to submerge. Divide cheese evenly, sprinkling it over each toast.
- Place bowls under broiler and broil until cheese is melted and bubbly.
- If desired, garnish each serving with green onion. Serve.