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Mushroom Leek Soup With Garlic Croutons
For the soup:
8 ounces cremini mushrooms
1 medium leek
1 fennel bulb
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small handfuls fresh spinach leaves
5 cups chicken broth
For the garlic croutons:
1 head garlic
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
Several slices of baguette
Parmesan cheese for garnish
To make the soup, slice the mushrooms, clean and slice the leek, discarding the dark green, and thinly slice the fennel bulb. In a medium Dutch oven or soup pot, saute the sliced fennel, mushrooms and leek in the olive oil over medium heat until they are beginning to soften but not color. Add the spinach and saute until wilted.
Add the chicken broth, put the lid on your pot and simmer over low heat for about 25 minutes or until the vegetables are thoroughly soft (the fennel will take the longest). Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until completely smooth. (Or you can purée it in batches in the blender and then return to the soup pot.)
To make the garlic croutons, meanwhile, preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Rub the papery outside off the head of garlic and slice a bit off the top. Place in a square of tin foil, drizzle with half the olive oil and wrap the head up into the tin foil in a package.
Arrange the baguette slices on a cookie sheet and brush each cut side with the remaining oil. Roast the garlic in its package for about 45 minutes, placing the baguette in the same slow oven for 15 minutes of the process or until the slices are crisp. The garlic should be golden brown and meltingly soft.
To serve, spread each slice of baguette with a clove of the roasted garlic. Float a couple of the garlic croutons on each bowl of soup and top with grated Parmesan cheese.
From: Tampa Bay Times