Oddly, Rhys did not choose a soup to be the centerpiece of his birthday dinner.
He wanted his favorite meal of all time–steak and mashed potatoes–and so it was steak and mashed potatoes he got. Along with a strawberry chiffon cake (frosted with whipped cream, lavished with sliced fresh berries) and, well, this soup.
This is a lovely opener for a meat-and-potatoes kind of meal. Look how cleverly it slips in the green vegetable! If you wanted to make it a little more substantial, you could add a peeled, diced potato or two. Or even some asparagus, were you so inclined.
Ultra-Simple Birthday Soup
Serves six (in our case, including Suzy! Baby Jacob is still too little for soup.)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium leeks, white/light green parts only, split lengthwise and rinsed well, then chopped
1 tsp red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
Several good handfuls of baby spinach leaves, well rinsed and roughly chopped (probably about 3 cups)
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add leeks and pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic. Cook, stirring, one minute more.
Add chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until you're ready to eat. (I probably gave it 20 minutes or so.) Stir in spinach; cook, stirring regularly, just until spinach wilts.
Taste and correct seasoning. Serve with a drizzle of walnut oil (or sesame oil, even), if you like. Or not. Either way…
Image by Flickr user chidorian. Used under a Creative Commons license.