Leek Velouté Soup – Gluten-free

You may or may not know that the leek is one of my absolute favourite vegetables – really versatile, very tasty and so good with butter, potatoes, risotto, pasta, cream, mustard…..it goes on and on. This time of year it’s about all we have fresh from the garden:

Last of the Leeks

I wanted to make a seasonal soup using just leeks…..no potatoes, no celery – a soup to celebrate the leek.  And I wanted it to be sophisticated.  So I set about a velouté soup, defined in Larousse Gastronomique as one “thickened with egg yolks, butter and cream”.  My understanding of a velouté is a from velouté sauce which is “one of the basic white sauces, made with a white veal or chicken stock or a fish fumet, thickened with a white or golden roux.” And under this definition comes in “The basic velouté can also be used as a basis for making smooth, fine but rich soups.” So I’m going with the premise that a velouté soup is one made with a basic velouté sauce – the addition of cream is an idea too though and will go well with our leeks.

I took a stab and made a regular, wheat flour leek velouté soup and it was delicious. Using flour in soups has really gone out of style but I have to say the smooth, fine texture and flavour of this soup was worth the effort.  Omitting flour from soups in general is a welcome movement for coeliacs and wheat intolerants but I have to say, I now know why theses classic French techniques are celebrated.  All that said, I didn’t feel right about including it here without addressing the needs of my coeliac/wheat-intolerant friends.  I set to work on an alternative.  You’ll be glad to know that the gluten-free roux turned out well and overall I don’t think there was a compromise with this soup.  If you love the flavour of leeks make this soup – use the same amount of regular flour if you don’t have a problem with wheat/gluten.  I used chicken stock but you can use a nice vegetable stock also.

Leek Velouté Soup

For 4

6 medium leeks (or 4 large leeks)

1 white onion

2 cloves garlic

1 tbsp butter

small dash olive oil

1 sprig fresh thyme

2 sprigs fresh parsley

1 bay leaf

sea salt & black pepper

200ml stock

fresh cream for serving

Velouté:

30g gluten-free flour blend ( I mixed 1tbsp rice flour, 1 tbsp potato starch, 1 1/2 tbsp tapioca flour)

30g butter

500ml chicken stock

Method:

Leeks

Wash all your leeks well and chop them roughly, along with the onion and garlic. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add a dash of olive oil.  Add the chopped leek, onion and garlic – sprinkle with sea salt, cover and sweat for 15-20 minutes for a low-medium heat.  Stir every few minute.

Leeks Sweating

While this is going on, make your velouté sauce:

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low heat.  Add the gluten-free flour mix and cook for 2-3 minutes stirring regularly.  Do not allow the roux to take on colour. Start again if it does.  It should look something like this:

Gluten-free Roux

When you’ve cooked out the flours begin adding the chicken stock – a small amount at a time at first (about 50ml), stirring vigorously between each addition to prevent any lumps from forming.  You can increase the heat slightly at this stage.  Continue until all the liquid is added.  This is my sauce half way through:

Veloute sauce - half way

It’s quite gummy and starchy looking at this stage – but don’t worry it will all be ok in the end.  Cook for a couple minutes gently after all the stock is in.

When the leeks are nice and soft you can pour in the velouté sauce on top of them and throw in an additional 200ml of stock as well as the thyme, parsley and bay leaf. Cover and cook gently for another 15 minutes.  Now fish out the thyme, parsley and bay leaf.  Blend the soup – taste and season as needed.  At this stage you have 2 choices – pass the soup through a nylon sieve to give an even finer texture, or do what I did and just eat it as is.  If you like, just before serving heat the soup and stir in a some fresh cream.  I’ve also served this soup with some very crisp bacon on top and it was pretty yum.  A little sprinkle of parsley is nice too.

Et Voilá:

Gluten-free Leek Velouté Soup

The leek is believed to have originated from a Near Eastern variety of garlic and was cultivated by the Egyptians and Hebrews.  “The Emperor Nero had leek soup served to him every day, to develop a clear and sonorous voice for delivering his orations….”

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Kate on February 24, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    that soup sounds yum! I too like leeks but rarely cook with them…this seems like a good way to start.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Una on February 28, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    I recently learned a new way to clean leeks;

    Chop off the roots and green shoots, leaving the mostly white part of the leek.

    Cut leek vertically down the middle and then slice each long piece horizontally.

    Put all of the sliced leek into a colandar and rinse. This ensure that all the dirt that gets between the layers comes out!

    Love leeks too, just made a leek and potato soup for parents’ snack at school today!

    Reply

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