Despite the massive interest in my last chocolatey post, it seemed time for a shift in gear. After the excess of the past weekend, I've been working on perfecting a leek and potato soup.
The last day I made leek and potato soup, a friend coincidentally asked me for a good recipe. I was embarrassed and frustrated to say I couldn't give her one because I was really unenamoured with my creation that day.
I had a couple of problems; it pains me to peel a potato. Not only do I resent the time, but, as each piece drops away, I imagine the nutrition from the potato doing the same. So, I made my last leek and potato soup with the peel on. Needless to say, I just could not get the texture smooth enough for my liking.
The other problem is, most recipes will instruct you not to brown the leeks or potatoes, in favor of the lightest colored, aesthetically pleasing soup. Now as a rule I will always favor taste over beauty, when cooking, but with the last soup, I followed the directions and didn't brown.
Bottom line, the soup was bland and " bitty". Research began, then testing and here we go.
I'm afraid it comes back to my Irish roots; everything is better with bacon! However this time, I had some pancetta in the fridge (that's the American influence) and I decided to start off the soup with that as my flavor base. A few cloves of garlic, fresh thyme and the crispy pancetta on top for serving. All good.
So, Jen Peterson, this one's for you!
Luxurious leek and Potato Soup
4 oz/ 110g pancetta or bacon (diced into small pieces)
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 large leeks (approx 1 lb/ 450g or 8 cups) halved lengthways and thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, diced or minced
2 lb/ 900g potatoes, peeled and diced
6 cups/ 1420ml of low sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon fresh thyme (chopped)
Salt and pepper
- Heat a large, heavy based, deep pan on medium high. Add the pancetta and fry until crispy
- Remove the pancetta and set aside. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the fat rendered
- Add the olive oil to the pan and when hot, add the leeks and garlic
- Cook until softened; about 10 minutes.
- Add the potatoes and cook a further 5 minutes.
- Add the stock and stir well to scrape up the tasty bits at the bottom of your pot.
- Bring up to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked.
- Add the thyme and puree using the hand blender
- Taste and adjust the seasoning
- Serve with the reserved pancetta crumbled on top.
A couple of tips
- Leeks are best washed after chopping finely. Place them in a large bowl of cold water and agitate. Let the dirt settle to the bottom of the water, then scoop them out from the top of the water.
- Dried thyme would make a fine substitute too, or another fresh herb such as parsley, chives or even sage