Soups make a greater part of our week night’s meal in the winter months. It is easy to whip up some soup and toast some bread to dip when you don’t want to prepare an elaborate menu in the cold nights. We love to have a warm bowl of soup and watch our favorite television show all snuggled up on the sofa. Sometimes a salad or a grilled chicken or vegetables come as a side but mostly it is soup and toasty bread. So I am always in a hunt for various soup recipes and try the ones which are easy and quick to prepare. I tried my hands in preparing various Chinese, Italian, Indian and American soups to suit our versatile palate. However, when this ‘leek and brie soup en croute’ was served as an appetiser to us at the Holiday party last year, at the very first sip I was bowled over by its creamy smoothness and a mild flavor covered up in a melt in the mouth pastry.
At home I tried to recreate the same remembering the taste and flavor and came up with this recipe. Since then I have prepared it quite a number of times and every time this one is a winner.
Leek is a vegetable from the onion family and so it imparts a mild flavor like onion in the dish. I paired it up with some minced garlic and green onion. Brie is a kind of cheese with a creamy texture and a mild flavor. The rich smooth and creamy texture of the soup comes from this cheese. Sometimes I prepare this as a simple soup and when I am in a mood I cover it up with a homemade pastry .This is my version of preparing the soup.
Leek and Brie Soup En croute
Recipe serves: 2 people
- 2/3 cup brie rind removed and cut into chunks
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 teaspoons oil
- 2 cups chopped leek
- 2-3 garlic cloves minced finely
- 3 stalks of green onion
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- ¼ cup cream
- 2 table spoons flour
- 1 teaspoon white pepper powder
- Salt to taste
- Pastry dough
- 1 egg lightly beaten
For Pastry dough
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 ounce cold butter
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- Ice cold water as needed to make the dough
To make the Pastry Dough
In a big bowl add the flour, salt and baking powder and mix well. Add in the butter and oil and mix in with your fingers till it gets coarse sand like texture. Add the ice cold water 1 tablespoon at a time and make dough out of it. Knead the dough lightly on a floured surface and wrap in a cling wrap and rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare the soup.
First to chop the leeks, discard the tuff green leafy portion and the root tips. Now finely chop the lighter green or white portion and rinse it very well in a colander under running water. Leeks have dirt in them so rinsing them thoroughly is very important. Chop the white part of the green onions as well and reserve the green part for garnish. In a heated stock pot add the butter and oil and add the chopped leeks, green onions and minced garlic and sauté. Add the white pepper powder and salt as per taste. Be careful with the salt as the cheese adds to saltiness in the soup. Now add 2 cups of vegetable stock and bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the leeks are very tender. Cool and blend the mixture in batches until smooth.
Bring the blended mixture back to the pan. Make a smooth mixture of flour with ½ cup of vegetable stock and add to the leek mixture. Add the remaining stock and the cream and bring the mixture to a boil. Slowly add the chunks of brie and let it melt. Slowly stir the mixture. Cook till the soup is thick and the cheese is melted. Taste for seasoning.
Pre heat the oven to 400 F. Ladle the soup between two oven proof soup bowls or casseroles. Divide the pastry sheet into two portions and roll out each portion into a disc about the size of the diameter of the soup bowl. Brush the sides of the bowl with the beaten egg and place the rolled pastry over and press the sides of the rim to seal. Brush the top of the pastry with egg wash and if you wish decorate with some cut outs of the pastry trimmings. Brush the cutouts with egg wash as well. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes in the oven or till the pastry is puffed up and lightly golden in color.
After it comes out of the oven let it stand for 5 minutes. Enjoy with some salad as a side.
It is very important to clean the leeks in running before cooking. You can use chicken stock to enhance the flavor. The pastry dough stays good for a week in the fridge and for a month in the freezer. You can skip making the pastry dough and use a store bought puff pastry sheet instead. You can even serve the soup as is, without the en croute and garnish with some chopped green onions and serve with toasted French bread.