Spring Soup

Spring Soup

Seasonal vegetables and their verdant green color give this vegetable soup its name. This recipe makes a quick first course or light supper for six people.

2 qts/2 liters chicken or well-flavored vegetable stock
¼ cup/30 g flour
the white part of 2 medium leeks, sliced crosswise
the inner stems of a small bunch of celery, sliced crosswise
1 cup/150 g fresh green peas
pinch of sugar
salt and white pepper
the inner leaves of a small head of romaine, shredded

for the croutons
3 slices of white bread, ¼ in/6 mm thick
butter or vegetable oil for frying

Stir about a cup of stock into the flour to make a smooth paste. Bring the remaining stock to a boil, whisk in the flour paste, and continue stirring until the soup thickens. Add the leeks, celery, and peas with the sugar, salt, and pepper. Cover the soup and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Five minutes before the end of cooking, stir in the lettuce.

Meanwhile, make the croutons. Trim the crusts from the bread and cut it into ¼-inch/6-mm dice. Heat enough butter or oil in a frying pan so that the croutons will float (I prefer the sweet taste of butter-fried croutons for this delicate soup). Fry the croutons over medium heat until they are evenly browned on all sides. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain them on paper towels. To serve, taste the soup and adjust the seasoning. Spoon it into bowls and serve the croutons separately.

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Excerpted from Anne Willan: From My Chateau Kitchen by Anne Willan. Copyright© 2000 by Anne Willan. Excerpted by permission of Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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