This light soup makes a hero of tender leeks, while a generous amount of parsley brings a burst of grassy freshness. To take it gluten-free, add a swirl of crème fraîche in place of the croûtons.
- 70 gm butter, diced
- 3 leeks, rinsed well, thinly sliced
- 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 floury potato (such as sebago, about 250gm), coarsely grated
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 1 litre (4 cups) chicken or vegetable stock
- 150 ml pouring cream
- 1 cup (firmly packed) flat-leaf parsley, plus extra coarsely chopped, to serve
- 1 cup (firmly packed) baby spinach leaves
- 120 gm butter, diced
- 2 thin slices day-old sourdough bread, crusts removed, cut into cubes
- Juice of ½ lemon and finely grated rind of 1 lemon
- 1Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add leek, celery and garlic and stir occasionally until tender but not coloured (4-5 minutes). Stir in potato, thyme and bay leaf, season to taste, then add stock and cream. Bring to a simmer, half-cover with a lid and continue to simmer until well flavoured and potato is tender (5-10 minutes). Discard thyme and bay leaf. Add parsley and spinach and stir until wilted, then purée with a hand-held blender and adjust seasoning to taste.
- 2Meanwhile, for buttery croûtons, melt butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add bread and fry, stirring occasionally, until golden brown (4-5 minutes). Strain butter through a heatproof sieve into a metal bowl and stir in lemon juice. Toss croûtons with lemon rind in a separate bowl.
- 3To serve, ladle soup into bowls, scatter with croûtons, drizzle with a little hot butter and scatter with chopped parsley.