- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 leeks, light green and white parts only, cleaned and finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- Three (14 1/2-ounce) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes, with their juice
- 6 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, or to taste
- 5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 1/4 cups milk or half-and-half
- 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco chipotle sauce, or to taste
- 3/4 cup croutons, preferably cheese or garlic, for garnish
- In a medium soup pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and saute for 4 to 5 minutes or until softened. Add the carrots and celery and cook for another 4 minutes, or until they begin to soften. Add the garlic and cook for a minute, or until slightly softened.
- Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables, reduce the heat to low, and continue to cook, stirring constantly for a minute or until the flour is thickened and incorporated into the vegetables. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and broth, raise the heat to medium-high, and bring to a simmer.
- Partially cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and all the flavors are well blended. With an immersion blender, puree the soup, or if you prefer a finer texture, use a blender. (If using a blender, cool the soup so the top of the blender doesn’t come off. And hold the cover down so that there won’t be any unexpected surprises.) If you want your soup totally smooth, pour it through a fine-mesh strainer after you have blended it.
Add the milk to the soup over medium heat, stirring to combine, and cook for another minute. Add the salt and chipotle sauce and taste for seasoning. If you prefer the soup thinner, add more milk or broth to reach the desired consistency.
Ladle the soup into soup bowls and garnish each bowl with a few croutons.
The soup may be prepared ahead through step 3, covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month. Defrost and warm the soup, and proceed with the recipe.
- If you can’t find the chipotle variety, try adding a dash of your favorite hot sauce.
- Another variation is to add a rind of Parmesan cheese to the soup while it is cooking. Remove the rind before adding the milk, and garnish each serving with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
For a more substantial soup, add diced cooked chicken or cooked quinoa.
Serve this as a starter or as part of a main course, along with your favorite grilled cheese sandwich, bagel chips or garlic bread.
Serves 6 to 8 people.