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Garlic and Leek Soup with Saffron

This garlic and leek soup with saffron is a variation of traditional Spanish Sopa de Ajo. Every Spanish mother has her personal twist on this soup–the gist is broth simmered with ample garlic. Typically garlic soup includes starchy rice–in this version I’ve used orzo instead.

Two entire bulbs of garlic, a pinch of saffron, and a couple whole cloves give their essence up to a pot of veggie broth. Strain and discard the garlic and you’re left with rich delicious broth you wouldn’t even guess is loaded with garlic–that’s how mellow it gets with a long simmer.
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Leeks sautéed in butter or olive oil go in the soup at the same time as orzo pasta. When the pasta is done, ladle into a bowl on top of crunchy herb croutons and a sprinkle of aged sharp cheese. For a more substantial meal, you can slide a poached egg in there too.

I’ve got a similar variation on sopa de ajo, garlic and rice soup. Try both and decide which you like best.

Wishing you a fabulous week–get in the kitchen and cook yourself a bowl of hot soup!

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Garlic and Leek Soup with Saffron
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins
 

You will love this simple brothy soup, a riff on the classic Spanish Sopa de Ajo. Delicious with a poached egg on top.

Course: Soup
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Letty | Letty's Kitchen
Ingredients
  • 2 heads garlic, ,separated into cloves and peeled
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons sea salt, depending on how salty your broth is
  • Pinch saffron
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 4 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced leeks
  • 1/2 cup dried orzo or other small pasta
  • 2 cups homemade croutons
  • 1/2 cup grated sharp aged cheese, eg Parmesan, Pecorino Romano, or Manchego
Instructions
  1. Add the garlic to the veggie broth along with the salt, saffron, a generous grind of pepper, the cloves, thyme, and parsley. Bring to a gentle boil, then cover and simmer for about one hour. Strain and discard the garlic, clove and herbs.
  2. While the garlic is simmering, sauté the leeks in the butter or olive oil until soft and just golden.
  3. Stir the orzo into the broth along with the sautéed leeks. Simmer until the orzo is just cooked.
  4. To serve, put some croutons in the bottom of a soup bowl and sprinkle with the cheese. Ladle the soup over this.
  5. If you wish, top with a poached egg.

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