After all, there is a French expression that says 'en avril ne te découvre pas d'un fil' (in April, don't remove a thread - of your clothing). So, my plan is to keep a few (a lot actually these days) layers on and make some delicious Spring vegetable soup such as the leek one I am sharing today. The thing about this soup is that it is not just plain leek. There is some added celery for flavour and potato for creaminess. And to make it even better I add a wonderful topping to it: whipped feta.
And it does work very well as a topping on soup. It adds the perfect amount of tanginess and saltiness to the leek soup (this is why I never add salt as seasoning to the soup in this recipe).
I like grating a bit of lemon zest on the top because if I could, I would add a little bit of lemon in everything. For crunchiness, I made homemade croutons from leftover baguette which I sliced, rubbed with a garlic clove then drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and put in a hot oven for a few minutes.
This is one of the things I love about simple vegetable soups. In themselves, they might be very plain but once you play with toppings, you open the door to many possibilities and incredible flavours.
It is one versatile meal I enjoy making all year long, be it hot in the colder months (or when the warmer weather struggles to make an appearance...) or chilled in the Summer.
I hope you will enjoy making and eating the recipe I share further down as much as I did!
What is your favourite soup flavour in the Spring time? Do you prefer eating it plain or with toppings? Share your favourites in the comments below if you want.
Ingredients (serve 4)
For the soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots (peeled and sliced)
2 garlic cloves (peeled and sliced)
100g celery (sliced)
100g potato (peeled and sliced)
450g leek (sliced)
salt & pepper
For the whipped feta
80g crumbled feta cheese
60g cream cheese
Optional: cream, grated lemon zest.
1. Put the olive oil in a large saucepan (or soup pot) over a medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic, stir and soften for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the celery, leek and potato dice and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Pour the water in and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, season with salt* and pepper, cover and simmer for 20/25 minutes (check that the potato pieces are tender).
3. While the soup is cooking, prepare the whipped feta. Put the crumbled feta cheese in a small food processor and mix into smaller crumbs. Add the cream cheese and blend for 4 to 5 minutes until you get a smooth texture. Pour into a small serving bowl.
4. When the soup is cooked, remove two ladles worth of the liquid and keep aside in a bowl. Puree the soup with a blender (I use a hand held one) until smooth. If you like a thick soup, leave as it is. If you prefer it thinner, stir in some of the liquid set aside. As an option you could also add a bit of cream to the soup but the whipped feta topping will already add creaminess to it.
To serve, divide the leek soup between the bowls and add a spoonful of whipped feta on top. I also like sprinkling a little bit of grated lemon zest for extra deliciousness.
* Season with salt to your liking. I personally do not add any as the whipped feta is already salt enough.