1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 large leeks, white and light green parts only, cleaned and sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
7 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
1/2 cup rice
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Pinch of cayenne
1/2 cup milk (optional)
For garnish: Chopped chives and/or croutons
1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot and add the leeks and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until leeks are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for about a minute, until the garlic smells fragrant. Add the stock or water, the rice, bay leaf and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Taste and adjust salt. Remove the bay leaf and discard.
2. Purée the soup with an immersion blender or a food mill, or in batches in a blender, taking care to remove the lid or take out the center insert and to cover with a towel to avoid hot splashes. Return to the pot, heat through, and add pepper to taste and a pinch of cayenne. Serve hot or cold. If you wish you can thin out with milk if it is too thick for you.
Garnish with chopped chives or croutons.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.