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.
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.