Garlic Soup

Jacques Pépin
There are almost endless possibilities for variation here. Potatoes are my favorite thickening agent for garlic soup, but it can also be thickened with a roux of flour and butter or with bread, the traditional choice in the South of France, where this dish is a specialty. Onions and scallions can be used instead of leeks, although the soup won’t have the same subtle taste. If you use the leeks, include most of the green leaves.
 
Poultry or meat stock gives the soup more body and flavor, although it’s good made with water. I have purposely kept the soup simple, but for a party, you could enrich it by adding a cup of light cream at the last minute.

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 medium leeks, trimmed (leaving most of the green), split, washed, and sliced
  • 12-15 garlic cloves
  • 7 cups homemade chicken stock or low-salt canned chicken broth
  • 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 2 cups cubed (1/2-inch) firm-textured white bread
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Instructions
 
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy pot. When it is hot, add the leeks and garlic and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the stock, potatoes, and salt and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and boil gently for 30 minutes.
 
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet. When it is hot, add the bread cubes and sauté, stirring almost continuously, until they are evenly browned on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
 
When the soup is cooked, push it through a food mill. Stir the butter into the hot soup and serve with the croutons.

Excerpted from Essential Pépin, © 2011 by Jacques Pépin. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved. 

Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 
6 to 8 servings
  • Nordic cuisine: Leave the herring, take the taco quiche

    With almost 800 pages of recipes and striking photography, Magnus Nilsson's The Nordic Cookbook is the definitive work on the food cultures of his native land. He spoke with Melissa Clark about the impact winter has on the Nordic countries, the common source of everyone's family herring recipe, and the enduring popularity of taco quiche.

Top Recipes

Reviving an 8,000-year-old winemaking tradition in Georgia

John Wurdeman studied music and art before becoming a winemaker in the country of Georgia. His winery, Pheasant's Tears, has revived an 8,000-year-old Georgian winemaking tradition. He tells Melissa Clark what brought him there, the myriad varieties of Georgian wines, and the integral part they play in that country's meals.