It's a Keeper: Leek Soup with Toasted Swiss Croutons

This recipe for Leek Soup with Toasted Swiss Croutons does not take 30 minutes, but is not intended to. It is from the February-March 2006 edition of Every Day with Rachael Ray. I really could have just eaten the croutons all by themselves, they were so good. The magazine states that the timing is: Prep Time: 25 min; Cook Time: 50 min. That's about how long it took me. Here's the full recipe:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 pounds leeks, white and light-green parts only, thinly sliced crosswise
5 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 cup dry white wine
2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 to 2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, finely diced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Sixteen 1/2-inch-thick slices of baguette
2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese (6 to 8 ounces)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh chives or flat-leaf parsley

1. Combine the olive oil and onions in a medium Dutch oven and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the leeks and garlic, then cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are tender, about 15 minutes. Pour in the wine and cook, uncovered, until the alcohol has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Add the broth and the bay leaves and bring to a simmer; continue simmering for 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves. Puree 2 cups of the soup in a blender and then stir it back into the pot.
2. In a large nonstick skillet, cook the prosciutto over medium-high heat, stirring, just until brown; transfer the prosciutto to the soup and reserve the skillet.
3. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Add half of the baguette slices to the skillet and cook until golden and toasted on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Turn the baguette slices over and spoon a heaping tablespoon of the shredded cheese on top of each; cover with a lid and cook until the cheese is melted, 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer the croutons to a heatproof plate and keep warm in a low oven; repeat with the remaining butter, bread and cheese.
4. Season the soup with salt and pepper, add the chives and ladle into mugs. Place a crouton on top of each mug and another on the side and serve.


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