This is a prescription for a nutritional detox called “Magic Leek Soup” as featured in Mireille Guiliano’s best-selling book French Women Don’t Get Fat. While we don’t follow this diet, I think the soup is wonderful as a started to any meal, or a quick lunch, and we indulge by add some French sea salt. The author writes:
Dr. Miracle, the family physician who helped me wake up and recover from my weight gain, was something of a gourmand. He gave me a number of recipes, but none more important than the one he gave me for the first, and only, “tough” weekend. On reflection, it wasn’t so tough at all, because of his “magical leek soup,” a trick used by many of the local women for generations. He had prescribed it to both my mother and grandmother at one point or another.
Leeks are a mild diuretic, and 48 hours or so of leek soup would provide immediate results to jump-start the recasting. For me, it was the start of a lifelong commitment to wellness as well as the beginning of my appreciation, my love, of leeks, about which there is much more to say. It is a trick I still use from time to time; do try it the first weekend.
2 lbs. leeks
Water to cover in a large pot
1. Clean leeks and rinse well to get rid of sand and soil. Cut end of green parts leaving all the white parts plus a suggestion of green. (Reserve the extra greens for soup stock.)
2. Put leeks in large pot and cover with water. Bring to boil and simmer with no lid for 20-30 minutes. Pour off the liquid and reserve. Place the leeks in a bowl.
The juice is to be drunk (reheated or room temperature to taste) every 2-3 hours, a cup at a time.
For meals or whenever hungry, have some of the leeks themselves, ½ cup at a time. Drizzle with a few drops of extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Season sparingly with salt and pepper. Add chopped parsley if you wish.
This will be your nourishment for both days, until Sunday dinner, when you can have a small piece of meat or fish (4 – 6oz.–don’t lose that scale yet!), with two vegetables, steamed with a bit of butter or oil, and a piece of fruit.
Pity those who don’t love the sweet taste and delicate texture of leeks. Eventually, you probably will. But if it’s not to your liking, follow the example of my cousin in Aix-en-Provence. After the birth of two sons she needed to shed a few pounds, but didn’t love leeks. A neighbor suggested a variation of “magical leek soup” with the “trick” of hiding the leek among other flavorful and healthful ingredients. You too may prefer the Provençal version, known as soupe mimosa.
Mimosa Soup Recipe
1 head of lettuce
½ lb. carrots
½ lb. celeriac
½ lb. turnips
½ lb. cauliflower
1 lb. leeks
2 hard boiled eggs chopped
½ cup chopped parsley
Water to cover in a large pot
1. Clean and chop all ingredients in rough pieces and, except for the cauliflower and parsley, put them a pot. Cover with water, bring to boil and simmer unlidded for 40 minutes. Add the cauliflower and cook for another 15 minutes.
2. Pass all the contents through a food mill.
3. Serve in a bowl and add more parsley and pieces of chopped boiled eggs.
Eat a cup every three hours (room temperature or reheated) or so all day Saturday and Sunday until the same Sunday dinner of fish or meat, 2 steamed vegetables with a dash of butter or olive oil and 1 piece of fruit. Somewhat less liquidy and magical than the leek soup it nevertheless is an effective and tasty alternative.
Both versions are so good, and an adventure for most palates, that you will have a very hard time seeing them as prison rations. Especially if these tastes are new to you, jot your impressions of flavor and fragrance in your journal. In time, this exercise will intensify your pleasures, and you may want to keep a regular diary of your experiences gastronomiques, including some wine notes (just as serious oenologues do).