Other than over-salted egg drop soup in a Chinese restaurant, I don’t know that I ever had egg in a soup recipe until recently.
It turns out the creamy egg yolk and the nourishing fats swimming in all that immunity-boosting broth is becoming one of my favorite comfort foods, and I’m excited to share this recipe with you in our Nourishing Soup Series this month.
As members of the Allium family, garlic and leeks both have properties that survive cooking that are anti-inflammatory, promote heart health, and have antioxidant properties. Leeks have all sorts of great health benefits, including being a great source of folate, so make this soup for women in your life who are expecting (and throw an extra egg in their bowl).
Garlic Leek Soup makes an excellent simple “starter soup” for a meat-based meal, by itself as a simple dinner with bread and a salad, or even for breakfast! I served it with baked oatmeal once when we had company for brunch after church.
I definitely advocate making your own easy chicken stock, but sometimes you just want something quick and easy for those busy days. Thrive Market will deliver some to your door – Pacific brand makes Chicken Bone Stock for a good price. You can even get 15% off your first order, no coupon required. No running to the store and you’ll be ready to make dinner at a moment’s notice.
Recipe Finesse Notes
Although I do reuse my chicken bones to make multiple batches of broth, this soup is one that really requires the “firsts” and not the “thirds.” As Diana says in her lovely Lentil Soup recipe, it takes a good broth to make really spectacular soup. Let the broth shine on center stage!
You’ll want your chicken bones to simmer at least 8 hours in your homemade stock, more if you can swing it, and be sure to add garlic, onions, carrots and celery, maybe even leeks, for the last hour or two. Roast them for even more flavor, and add fresh parsley and kombu (seaweed) if you have it for the last 10-20 minutes.
Don’t skimp on the unrefined sea salt as you make the soup either, since everything will be a bit flat without it. And of course, pastured eggs will have the richest flavor (and nutrition) in that yolk.
The egg in this recipe is poached, more or less, although I had to look that up to double check that poaching was in fact what I was doing.
I boiled the water, overflowed the pot, made a big mess, but still had delicious eggs for the soup:
It looks crazy, but even at a full boil, it more or less holds together.
This egg was good, but a little less time, a slightly runny yolk = even better.
Don’t follow my example – better to use a slow simmer, maybe a splash of vinegar to make the egg hold together, and follow these directions – but know that if you let the water get out of hand, it’ll all still work out. I recommend not covering the pot though, saves a lot of clean up time. Here’s one more poached egg tutorial that has a lot of minute but helpful tips (but I would never use that much vinegar).Print
- Crush garlic and set aside to maximize health benefits. Melt fat over medium heat. Saute the leeks until softened, then add carrots for a few minutes, then add garlic for the last minute.
- Pour in stock and add salt, paprika, oregano and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, simmer an inch or two of water in a frying pan or shallow pot (enough to cover an egg). Add a few pinches of salt. Drop enough eggs in for one per eater (4 is likely the maximum for a single pan) and set the timer for 3-4 minutes, cooking on medium low with the cover off. If you’re cooking for many, you can set the cooked eggs aside, then warm them up for a minute in the hot water or just rely on the hot soup to heat them up in the bowl.
- Using a slotted spoon, move each poached egg into a bowl then ladle the finished soup on top. Serve with Parmesan cheese at the table.
* For an even simpler soup, omit the carrots.
* Serve as a starter soup, breakfast side or main dish with crusty bread and a big salad.
* If you want to make a double batch, the soup base freezes excellently, and then you can make eggs as needed for leftovers.
* Inspired by the Spanish Garlic Soup in Kimi Harris’s awesome soup book, Ladled.
Other Leek-y Recipes
If you buy your leeks in a bundle of 3, what to do with the rest? Adding them to stock is great, any stir fry or scrambled eggs, in place of onion in some other recipes, or try these:
- Chicken Leek Barley Soup
- Gratineed Leeks (side dish) – I actually used the tops from this recipe plus one more small leek to make the garlic leek soup in the photos on this page.
Leeks are sturdy and easy to store for a few weeks in the fridge, and you can also slice them up and freeze without blanching for future soups. Save the tops and ends for making stock.