Potato Leek Soup, with Pan Roasted Garlic, Wine, and Bacon
So Lynne and I went to a totally cool winter Farmers Market, at the old Velvet Mill in Stonington, Connecticut. ( I HIGHLY recommend this if you live here – everything from fresh local meat, eggs, produce, sauces, jellies, jams, artwork….. a nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon.)  We picked up some fresh, organic sweet leeks, and a loaf of fresh sour dough bread…. And I thought…. Well – what else besides potato leek soup?  We also picked up a bottle of green curry pineapple satay hot sauce from Dragon’s Blood Elixir hot sauce – dragonsbloodelixir.com.  This guy had awesome hot sauces – I really liked the sweet potato hot sauce!  I had Lynne try some – forgetting that her tolerance for heat is infinitely lower than mine…… oops)  We had the grand daughter with us – no I didn’t have her try any!  It was a nice morning for sure!  Anyway… the soup.
Most tater soup recipes are pretty similar – potato’s, celery, thyme, chicken stock, and usually cream.  I thought I would mix it up a bit.  No cream, a little white wine for some acidity, some roasted garlic, and …. Of course …. BACON.  I mean what else goes with potatoes?  If I could have thrown some eggs in I would have!  This soup is “souper” simple to make – takes about 20 minutes of prep, then about 40 minutes of simmering.  A note about the leeks – slice them up, and place in a bowl of cold water – swish around every few minutes to clean the sand out of them…. Otherwise your soup will be very gritty.
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 – 4 leeks, sliced thin, and soaked in cold water to rinse
3 stalks celery, sliced ( grab some leaves and rough chop for garnish)
2 tbs butter
6 cups chicken stock ( I cheated and used store bought instead of home made…. Didn’t feel like defrosting it)
2 cups water ( you may need to add more as the soup simmers)
½ cup dry white wine ( Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio are fine – do NOT use a sweet wine like Riesling)
2 – 3 lbs potatoes, peeled, and diced into ½ inch ish pieces
4 slices cooked bacon chopped rough ( 2 tbs reserved for garnish)
¼ cup fresh parsley
1 tsp thyme
Pinch red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
1)      Slice the leeks, and soak as instructed.  Peel potato’s and place in a bowl of water to keep from oxidizing.
2)      In a small sauté pan, add butter and garlic.  Sauté until garlic starts to brown – DON’T burn it!.  Drain leeks, add to pan with celery.  Sauté for about 10 minutes until starting to soften.
3)      In a medium saucepan, add broth, water, wine, salt pepper, thyme, bacon and potatoes.  Bring to a boil.  Add leeks and garlic before this comes to a boil.  Simmer for 20 – 30 minutes until potatoes are soft and falling apart. You may need to add water as the potatoes absorb liquid.
4)      Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth.  You can use a blender to do this, but only put fill about ½ blender at a time, and CAREFULLY pulse at a low speed to blend.  If using a blender, please be CAREFUL!!  Hot liquids have a tendency to explode out of the top if you just crank away at high speed.
5)      Serve with fresh bread, garnish with celery leaves, parsley, and a little chopped bacon
This was a really good, rich soup – awesome in front of a roaring fire on a cold, snowy day!


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