Saffron leek soup

saffron leek soup // a thousand threads
We all have our little pleasures. Manicures, lunches out, fancy espresso… they’re the things that make the day to day just that much better (or more bearable). And it’s for exactly that reason that we’re willing to spend a good chunk of our hard-earned money on them.

For Mark and I, hands down, our little pleasure is food. When we’re able (and probably even when we’re not) the answer to where our money goes first is almost always food. Things like paper towels and cleaning supplies will drive me up a wall every time I have to replenish, but a nice bottle of wine, a creamy chunk of cheese, fresh herbs and spices… those, I can always justify.

saffron leek soup // a thousand threadssaffron leek soup // a thousand threads
Even if your little pleasure is a regular manicure, though, you have to admit that the occasional treat is more than necessary.

Especially when that treat is saffron.

Saffron has an earthy flavor that’s hard to describe, and one that gives just the perfect complex balance (not to mention the perfect color) to this soup. Paired with tangy buttermilk and a pinch of white pepper, this is one of my favorite recipes… and one I think I could eat all winter. Which is exactly why when the snow kept us stuck inside this weekend, I knew we had to have it at least one more time.

Add a side of crusty bread, a White Whale cocktail, the Oscars, and maybe a heated blanket (we’ve gone old school in these single digit days) and our little pleasures added up to the perfect Sunday night.

… even if nobody laughed at Neil’s jokes.

saffron leek soup // a thousand threadssaffron leek soup // a thousand threads
Saffron leek soup
Adapted from Alton Brown

1 pound leeks, cleaned and sliced (white and light green portions only)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4-5 small Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
1 quart vegetable broth
Pinch saffron, plus more for garnish
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
Salt, to taste

Melt butter in a 6-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks and a heavy pinch of salt and sweat for 5 minutes. Decrease heat to medium-low and cook until the leeks are tender.

Add potatoes, vegetable broth, and a big pinch of saffron. Increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and gently simmer until the potatoes are soft, 30-45 minutes.

Turn off heat and puree mixture with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in heavy cream, buttermilk, and white pepper. Taste and add salt to taste.

Serve with a little saffron to garnish.

saffron leek soup // a thousand threadssaffron leek soup // a thousand threads


  1. Posted February 24, 2015 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Saffron is, as far as I’m concerned, always a necessity. This recipe sounds like heaven!

  2. Posted February 26, 2015 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Mil gracias por la receta.

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