As part of our attempt to eat more seasonally, we’re also trying new -to us anyway- vegetables. I know leeks aren’t at all uncommon and taste-wise they are simply a milder green onion, it was just nothing I’ve ever had much reason to experiment with. This soup has a flavor that suggests there was much slaving over the stove. Well, you can let your guests assume that to be the case, I won’t tell.
I should note that it is very important to follow all of the directions for washing leeks, as they trap a lot of sand between their leaves; this can destroy the impression of any dish, no mater how delicious. Additionally, you will need either a counter-top or immersion blender for this recipe to work.
While I haven’t experimented directly with a vegetarian version, it’d be simple exchange. Use 3 TBSP butter for the bacon and substitute vegetable stock for the chicken. You may need to play with the seasonings slightly to account for the loss of sodium in the bacon or add some soy sausage.
Omnivores may find it fun to change the stock in the recipe to vary the flavors. My first batch I used chicken stock as directed, but the second time I used turkey, the result is a slightly darker, richer soup. The version in the photo has turkey stock as its base and is garnished with scallions. I can easily see vegetable stock working well with this recipe.
: Leek and Potato Soup
- 1 bunch leeks, carefully washed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 3 strips bacon
- 5 -6 cups chicken stock (divided)
- 1 to 1 1/4 pounds russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced into approximately 1″ chunks
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup heavy cream OR 1 cup half & half, but reduce the chicken stock to 5 cups
- fresh ground pepper to taste
Leek and Potato Soup Instructions
- In a heavy pot, cook the 3 strips of bacon over medium low heat. While the bacon is rendering its fat, wash the leeks carefully. Cut the white portion from the green leaves and discard all but 2 of the leaves. Cut the leeks in half and rinse well under running water to wash away any grit.
- Slice the leeks thinly, as illustrated in the photo.
- When the bacon has cooked, but is not yet crisp, remove it from the pot, chop, and set aside. Do not drain the pan, you’ll miss the whole point of the exercise.
- Add the leeks to the drippings, stir occasionally. While waiting for the leeks to soften is a good time to peel and dice the potatoes.
- When the leeks are soft, add 1 cup of stock to the pot. Increase the heat to bring to the liquid to a boil. Add the 2 reserved leek leaves (that’s hard to say), the bay leaves, thyme, diced potatoes, and remaining stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat until the soup is just at a simmer. Keep at a simmer until the potatoes are fork tender. Add the bacon and pepper.
- Remove both the bay and leek leaves. If you use an immersion blender, blend the soup in the pot until it is pureed. If you have a counter-top blender, work in batches. Do NOT overfill the carafe as, it’s soup, it’s very hot.
- Add the heavy cream or half and half, stir well, and serve immediately.
You can also substitute milk for up to 1/2 of the chicken stock. Add this with or instead of the cream or half and half.
Diet tags: Gluten free