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.