[83] White Wine, Onion and Leek Soup

No cookbook link here, because this is out of my “recipe stash”. I can, though, link you to the person who gave it to me, because I got it while I was “taking the six week ‘How to Think Like a Chef’ course in Baltimore”:http://www.fortheloveoffood.com/Adult_Cooking_Classes.php which I have mentioned more than once here.

One of the nice things about this challenge, I can tell, is discovering what recipes I have in the stash. I know this, because I’d completely forgotten I had this recipe. I found it while looking for a completely different recipe that Chef Diane had provided with the class.

You see, leeks are beautiful and Bill and I like them a lot. So while we were at the farmers’ market the other day, we saw a pile of leeks being sold, and decided it would be nice to make a leek soup. Bill vaguely recalled having a leek soup recipe somewhere on his harddrive (which wouldn’t have counted for this challenge), and I was pretty sure I had a cream of leek soup from that class. So, on a whim, we purchased those delicious looking leeks and took them home with us, to give them the loving care in a soup-pot they deserved.

Only, when we got home, we then were bad leek owners and promptly forgot we had them for a couple of days. Once we remembered, we went looking for our soup recipes. Bill couldn’t find his, and I couldn’t find mine. However, I did find this one and it did sound delicious. So, it’s leeks in soup, it works, right?

Right.h2. Ingredients

Note that this is a half recipe.

2 large Spanish or Yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 large leeks, julienned

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter

2 tbsp dried rosemary or 4 tbsp fresh

2 – 3 c chicken stock (We used homemade veggie stock.)

3/4 c dry white wine

Salt and pepper, to taste

Shaved Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese

Fresh rosemary sprigs (Garnish.)

h2. Instructions

In a medium soup pot, combine butter and olive oil. Once the butter has melted, add the onions and leeks and saute until softened, but not browned. Stir in the rosemary, then add the white wine and bring to a boil. When the wine is boiling, add the chicken stock and return to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then serve topped with the cheese and a sprig of fresh rosemary per bowl.

h2. Cooking and Consumption Notes

h3. Cooking

So, first, let me say this: Cooking and taking photos at the same time is rather difficult for me. I presume it’s difficult for others too, but I don’t actually know this and many food bloggers make it seem effortless.

In other words? Please forgive me for having forgotten to photograph anything but the ingredients. I was trying to get dinner on the table for Bill, Jessie and I.

The hardest part to this recipe is all the chopping of plants from the Allium genus. At least for me. First, I still don’t have a “julienne” cut down. I have the idea, but my knife skills aren’t there yet.

Second, I weep. Oh, how I weep when cutting onions. Bill came home the other night, when I was chopping an onion for a different dish (one that called for a lot less onion), and thought maybe I’d opened a cabinet into my right eye. It was swollen a bit, bloodshot beyond belief, and tears were streaming out of it. No, I don’t know why the left eye didn’t get in on the action, but I’m glad it didn’t, since it took about half an hour after I ceased chopping for the right eye to stop hurting and the swelling didn’t go down fully until I’d slept.

For other folks, I’d imagine the most daunting part of this recipe is cleaning the leeks. It’s actually fairly easy. Chop off the root end and trim down the green ends. If you’re using them (and I didn’t use the tough top green parts), rinse the tops. Then, split the rest of the leek cylinder down the middle, and rinse each half individually, using both hands to flare out the layers of the leek and rinse out all that dirt.

Once you’re done rinsing and/or crying your eyes out, it’s all downhill coasting! If you have the ingredients on hand, I’d say that this is easily a weeknight meal. Half an hour to 45 minutes from pulling the ingredients out to sitting down and saying, “Dig in!”

h3. Consumption

Use chicken stock. Or make sure your veggie stock is fairly lightly flavored. As I mentioned in our “veggie stock”:http://metacookbook.com/archives/155-81-Vegetable-Stock.html post, the stock I made was stronger and earthier than I’d anticipated. Since it was such a large part of the ingredient list, that veggie stock flavor just overpowered the wine flavor, and did a pretty strong number on the leek & onion flavors. The rosemary flavor, however, held its own.

All in all, Jessie and Bill thought the soup was “okay”, and I really didn’t enjoy it. I think this is the difference between being able to walk in and have food ready, or near ready, and having cooked it. I think they were very grateful that dinner was simply ready for them, whereas I’d done all that weeping and rinsing.

I suspect, though, that it’s not the recipe but the stock. Since it was so overpowering, it felt like I’d put all that effort (and all those tears) into a rosemary-flavored stock with bits to chew on, rather than a lightly flavored onion, wine, leek soup.

Lesson learned. Be careful with the stock.