Potato, Leek and Bacon Soup

May 23rd, 2011 by Gemma

I know it’s rather hot at this time of year but I am always a fan of soup – it’s easy, hearty and nutritious! Who cares how hot it is, soup is still delicious!

This time around I made a potato, leek and bacon soup. We had leeks from Tecolote Farm (a local CSA, the oldest in Texas actually) and a couple of big baking potatoes on hand so it made perfect sense!

I started by cooking off the bacon, fairly low and slow so it renders off lots of fat and gets good and crispy. Put the bacon to one side (I put it on paper towels to drain any excess fat) but leave all the fat in the pan. See all the brown meaty bits stuck to the bottom? That’s going to help the soup taste fantastic!

Add the onions and start to sauté them off, add the carrots and garlic to get a mire-poix going. Don’t forget the leeks too! All the meaty bits stuck to the pan will release and coat the vegetables.

When they’re softened add the stock and the potatoes. We used homemade chicken stock that we make in bulk and store in the freezer. If you go with store bought try and find a low sodium version, the bacon will make the soup salty enough already. Bring to the boil then turn down low to simmer. Minimum of an hour, but really, as long as you like. The longer it cooks the better the flavours will meld and blend together.

Using a stick blender, or in batches in a food processor, puree the soup down. You shouldn’t need to add any thickener as the starches from the potato should do a good enough job. If you’re feeling fancy you can strain the soup to make sure it’s velvety smooth, but I didn’t find it necessary in this case.

Now, remember that bacon you put to one side way back at the start of this? Well, hopefully you haven’t eaten it all. We’re going to cut it into small pieces and add it to the soup.

Mix in a swirl of cream and season to taste. You can carry on letting it simmer very gently on low now for as long or as short as you like until it’s dinner time! And what goes with this thick, rustic soup? Thick, rustic crusty bread!

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