The Milk–2 cups milk, preferably whole
3 large parsley branches
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 onion, sliced
10 peppercorns, lightly crushed
5 juniper berries, lightly crushed
2 Tablespoons butter
2 large leeks, white parts plus an inch of the greens, chopped
4 cups chopped winter vegetables–turnips, carrots, celery or celery root, rutabagas, a little parsnip
3 boiling potatoes, about 12 ounces, peeled and diced
2 small bay leaves
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
salt and freshly milled pepper
2 Tablespoons flour
4 to 6 large slices sourdough or country-style bread, toasted
grated Gruyere or Parmesan cheese
chopped parsley, tarragon, or lovage
1. Put everything for the milk in a saucepan, bring it to a boil, then turn off the heat. Cover and set aside while you prepare the vegetables.
2. Melt the butter in a soup pot over low heat.
3. Add the vegetables, bay leaves, parsley, and 1-1/2 teaspoons salt. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
4. Stir in the flour and add 5 cups water; bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.
5. Pour the milk through a strainer right into the soup. Taste for salt and season with pepper.
To serve, lay a piece of toast in each bowl, cover it with grated cheese, ladle the soup on top, and sprinkle with parsley.
Serves 4 to 6