Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Potato-Leek Soup

I used to make this soup all the time. It's so very easy and it's really quite delicious. It's great on a cold night and filling enough to be a main course. Switch the bacon for olive oil and omit the half and half and you've got a healthy (albeit less flavorful) vegetarian soup. Freeze it for later or leave it in the crock pot to sip from all day!

The soup starts with half a pound of bacon, cut into pieces. I didn't use all this bacon shown--I freeze bacon and cut off pieces as I need them. I started the bacon pieces in a large soup pot with a little swirl of olive oil to keep them from getting too dark too fast. While the bacon cooked, I got to work on the leeks.

It's odd. I never seem to take pictures of the bacon rendering. Maybe I don't like to touch the camera after cutting it. It's weird though.

Also, this bacon looks really fatty. That's what you get when you buy on sale, I guess.
Anyway, on to the leeks. They look kind of like giant green onions.

Use the white and light green parts. Cut off the hairy ends and the very dark green parts.

Save them for vegetable stock.

As you can see, leeks are sometimes a little dirty on the inside.

People have different methods for cleaning the leeks; I just cut the leek in half and rinse it under the faucet, making sure to get water in between all the layers. Other people fill a bowl or the sink with water, and swish the leeks around, hoping for the dirt to sink to the bottom.

After the leeks are clean, I slice them into thick chunks.

I do the same with an equal amount of onion.

By this time, my bacon was done rendering. I took the bacon out of the pot and saved it for later.

Then both the leeks and onions got tossed into the soup pot with the bacon fat.

While the leeks and onions started to soften, I got my potatoes ready. I used these pretty Klondike Rose potato. Their buttery yellow insides are perfect for soup.

I peeled the potatoes and then cut them into rough chunks.

Here you can see the onions and leeks having a party.

I threw the potatoes in with the softened leeks.

Then everything got covered with chicken broth.

A bay leaf gives things a homey taste.

And don't forget to salt and pepper!

Let everything simmer; the potatoes need to cook fully.

Once the potatoes are soft, it's time to bring in the immersion blender. Don't forget to take out the bay leaf!

If you don't have an immersion blender, carefully use a blender to smooth things out.

If your soup is a little thick, add some more chicken broth, or even some water, to thin it.
To give the soup a creamy texture, add a touch of half and half.


Top with the bacon, a dab of sour cream, and a sprinkle of paprika (or cayenne, if you like things spicy). You and your family will fall in love!

Recipe: Potato-Leek Soup

1/2 lb. bacon, roughly chopped

2 large leeks, cleaned and sliced
1/2 large onion, sliced

3 large potatoes, skinned and diced
1 box plus 1 can of chicken broth
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 c. half and half

In a large soup pot, render bacon over medium heat until bacon is crisp. Remove bacon.

In the same pot, add leeks and onion. Cook until softened.

Add potatoes, chicken broth, bay leaf, and salt and pepper. Cook until potatoes are fork tender. Remove bay leaf.

Blend soup until completely smooth. Add half and half. Add additional chicken broth (or water) if soup looks too thick.

Serve soup topped with sour cream, bacon, and paprika.

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