2 large leeks, split in half lengthwise and washed
A handful of fresh Italian parsley sprigs, stems and leaves separated
A handful of fresh mint sprigs, stems and leaves separated
A handful of fresh basil sprigs, stems and leaves separated
6 cups cold water
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ½ cups frozen peas
Crème fraiche or sour cream for serving
Chives, chopped for serving
- Roughly chop the dark green tops, root ends, and tough outer layers of the leeks and put them in a large pot. Roughly chop the remaining leeks(the white and light green parts), wash them, and set aside.
- Add the stems from the parsley, mint, and basil to the pot along with the water and 1 ½ tsp salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and let the stock cook quietly for 30 minutes. Strain the stock through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl and set aside. Discard the contents of the strainer.
- Wipe the pot dry and put it over medium heat. Add the butter, the reserved chopped and washed leeks, and a large pinch of salt and cook stirring, until the leeks are softened and translucent, about 10 minutes. Do not brown.
- Add the peas. Slowly pour in the warm stock, leaving any grit on the bottom of the bowl behind. Turn off the heat and let the soup cool to room temperature (the residual heat will cook the peas).
- Once the soup has cooled, add the leaves from the parsley, mint, and basil to the pot. Puree the soup with an immersion blender, or with a regular blender. Season with salt and pepper.
- Reheat the soup and serve warm, or chill it thoroughly. Serve with crème fraiche and sprinkle with chives.
- Puree or not! I love this soup partially pureed with lots of texture.
- Add a protein-cooked chicken, shrimp, scallops, or even white beans. Puree the soup first, then add to the pureed soup and heat through.
- Add diced potatoes to the soup while it is cooking. Add 5 minutes to the soup cooking time.
- Instead of soup, make a side dish. Add just enough stock (start with 1/2 cup) to the sautéed leeks and peas to warm the peas through. Turn off the heat and gently stir in 2 tablespoons of very cold butter to create a creamy finish.
- Serve the soup cold on a hot day!