I don't know how Matt became acquainted with Jaques Pepin, but ever since he first saw his cooking show, we have eaten pretty well at the Robertson house whenever Matt is making dinner. Matt is much better at trying new recipes and techniques than I am, and some of his French recipes he has found have become new staples for us! A Jaques inspired favorite of mine is this Garlic Soup. It's the kind of perfect Fall soup that inspires you to "Mmmm" as soon as the spoon is in your mouth. It's thick and rich and creamy, and it warms you through and through.
Jacques Pepin's Garlic Soup Recipe
1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium leeks, trimmed (leaving most of the green), split, washed, and sliced
12–15 garlic cloves
7 cups canned chicken broth (we substituted about 2 with Matt's homemade turkey stock)
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 cups cubed (1/2-inch) firm-textured white bread (we used sourdough)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy pot. When it is hot, add the leeks and garlic and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the stock, potatoes, and salt and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and boil gently for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet. When it is hot, add the bread cubes and sauté, stirring almost continuously, until they are evenly browned on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
When the soup is cooked, push it through a food mill. Stir the butter into the hot soup and serve with the croutons.