Thursday, October 23, 2008

Leek, Bacon, and Potato Soup

Wouldn’t you know it? I no sooner get through gloating about how wonderful our weather is when a cold front moves in. Yesterday, we had thunderstorms and torrential rain all day. Our temperatures plummeted 30 degrees in just a couple of hours, and went even lower overnight. There could be no better time for some soup.

This is one of my favorite soups. Leek and potato soup has been around for yonks (years) in the UK, but the addition of bacon and some cheddar cheese gives it an extra dimension.

I don’t know if it’s the same where you live, but leeks don’t seem to be very popular in Oklahoma. Whenever I buy them, the cashiers at the store always have to ask me what they are. So if you’ve never tried them, give them a whirl, they add a wonderful flavor to all manner of soups and stews.

Leeks are a member of the onion family, and in fact, look much like very large spring (green) onions, but their taste is quite different to onions.

Just to digress a moment. Last winter, I made this soup for my husband to take to a pot luck at work. No one got to try it though. On his way to work, with the crock-pot on the floor of the car, someone pulled right out in front of him, and Mick had to jam on the anchors. Result – soup all over the bloody car. Oh, hum.

Anyway, without further ado, on with the recipe.

Leek, Bacon and Potato Soup

Just a word of advice about leeks before we begin. Leeks can have a bit of a gritty texture, but if you prepare them this way that won’t happen. Top and tail your leeks - just use the white and pale green flesh - then slice them down the middle length ways, but don't cut them right in half, then rinse them under running water for a minute or two and they'll be great.

Serves 4


6 slices thick bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots sliced
2 leeks chopped
4 large russet potatoes, chopped into bite size pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups chicken broth
A dash of cayenne pepper (approx.1/8 teaspoon)
1 cup of sharp cheddar, shredded

Don't add salt to this recipe as the bacon tends to make the soup salty enough.
  • In a large saucepan, or Dutch oven, fry bacon in its own grease until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, drain on paper towels, and set aside. Discard bacon grease and wipe pan thoroughly with paper towels.
  • Add olive oil to pan, and over a medium heat sauté onion for 2 – 3 minutes, add carrots and leeks and sauté for a further minute, or until onion is soft but not brown.
  • Stir in chicken broth, potatoes and cayenne pepper, bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer covered for about 30 minutes.
  • Return bacon to pan, and reheat for about 5 minutes.
  • Reserve a little of the cheese to sprinkle on top of each bowl, and add the rest to the pan, stir until cheese has melted, do not allow to boil.

Served with crusty bread this soup is a meal in itself.


Pam said...

Simple ingredients makes a perfect soup. I love, love, love potato soup - can't wait to try it with leeks. Sorry about the weather but aren't you glad you got to make this soup?

Cheryl said...

ohh my gosh that looks good, better than the recipe I have for it. Next time I am making this!

Lisa said...

Great soup! I am loving all this soup with the colder weather.

Kevin said...

That soup looks good!

Denise said...

The soup sounds wonderful. I make a leek and potato soup but haven't put bacon in it before and am eager to try your recipe. Yikes, that was quite a ride your husband had. I have to transport soup to work often and having had a couple of near misses, now put it in a huge rubbermaid box, just in case :) Thanks for the great recipe.

Emiline said...

Looks splendid!

Yes, it did get quite a bit colder. I like the rainy/overcast days though.

Leeks really aren't a popular veg in the Midwest, are they?

Paula said...

Oh Jan, dish me up a huge bowl of this soup! I groaned out loud when I read about the mishap in the car. This soup sounds so good, like a stuffed baked potato! I do have access to leeks; I should use them more often. I hope it warmed you up. How awful to have the temperature drop 30 degrees so quickly! Brrrr!

Maria said...

Soup is the perfect meal! I can't get enough of it!

Raquel said...

I love leeks. Anyway you want to fix them and particularly in potato soup. In fact, I am making a potato leek soup later this week. As for the crockpot, I take 2 sturdy rubber bands. Twist one around each handle and then around the lid. This usually prevents spills. Or, as an alternative, I put the soup in a plastic container with a lid and then just send the crockpot along - pour it in and heat up - voila! Much love, Raquel XO

Margaret said...

Beautiful colourful soup.
I can't believe your weather variation - how incredible is that.

pamokc said...

This looks yummy and just perfect for a day like this. John uses leeks a lot with roasts and roast chicken, but I don't think he prepares it the way you say. I need to show him this post!

BanginFood said...

This looks delicious!

Jason said...

Sounds really good! I love that you added a pinch of cayenne pepper, that always makes a stew just so much better.