This soup is incredibly easy to make, hard to screw up, and YUMMY.

You don't need a whole lot of stuff. Here are the basics--feel free to be inventive with the recipe.

STUFF YOU NEED: THAT'S IT!

however...


STUFF TO PLAY WITH IF YOU WANT: You get teh idea.

DIRECTIONS: Rinse the leek really well, soaking it in cold water for a few minutes if you have time. Leeks (like all bulbs) grow up through the ground, and their shape causes little bits of dirt to get caught in the stalks. Dirt may not hurt, but it doesn't do a lot for the taste, either. Leeks have a fantastic, delicate onion-y, garlic-y flavor, and it's milder and harder to overdo than regular onion. Chop the leek up, just like a giant chive. You don't want to use the very bottom of the bulb, and the very tops of the leaves may be a little wilty, so you probably don't want to use them, either. You don't have to cut the leek up really small. It'll get tender and yummy when you dump it into the stock/broth, which you should bring quickly to a simmer, adding salt and pepper to taste. If you elect to use a shallot, add it now, as well.

When the spiral stalks of the leek begins to expand and get tender, dump in the chopped up broccoli. If you're conservation-minded, it's perfectly okay to use the stalks of the broccoli, but I would suggest steaming the stalks for a few minutes before hand to give them a head start on the crowns. Once your main ingredients are together, let the soup simmer until the broccoli crowns are tender but still bright green.

At this point, the soup is ready to eat, or you can pop it in a blender for a smoother soup. I always add a nice sharp white cheddar when I serve this dish, although if you've sticking to veggies, you'd want to pass on that.

Here are some excellent tips from resident iron chef yclept:
  • Instead of steaming the stalks first, you can just chop them up and then put them before the crowns. Let it come back to a gentle boil and cook for about 5 minutes (depending on how small the pieces are) and then add the chopped florets. Much easier than pulling out a steamer, I think. Oh, it's also a good idea to peel the base of the stalks if they're woody. Mmm, broccoli leek soup...
  • Come to think of it, since you start the leeks off first, you can add the broccoli stalks at the same time as the leeks. Also, leeks are easier to wash if you cut them in half the long ways first. Dirt washes right out under a good stream of water.
Dunno about you folks, but I'm going to try these tips next time!

I try to stay away from rigid amounts of ingredients in soup recipes. For me, part of the magic of soup is constantly checking, tasting, perfecting the dish. A good rule with spices, herbs, and liquids is to add a little at a time until you get what you like. You can always add more. Look at your leek and your broccoli. About how much do you have? How much other stuff do you need to balance it all out?

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