Happy new year! I’ve been travelling around visiting family for the holidays and very behind on my blog posting. Hopefully, you all were busy with your own holiday plans to miss me too much.
I made this soup right before Christmas, and since it used all local ingredients, it’s my submission for the Week 7 Dark Days Challenge (sadly, I missed week 6 because of travels). I got the idea from fellow Dark Days Challenge participant, Married With Dinner, who made Emeril Lagasse’s Potato Leek Soup a few weeks back. I’ve never made potato leek soup before, but this version looked so good that I had to try it out. It was absolutely delicious. Next time, I am going to make a double batch and freeze half of it.
Everything I used here except the salt and pepper are local. All the produce comes from the farmer’s market. For stock, I used homemade vegetable broth that I had made and froze a while ago, using an onion, carrot, leek trimmings, herbs, and whatever other things happened to be in my produce drawer that afternoon. The bacon comes from Fatted Calf, the dairy from Clover Stornetta Farms in Sonoma, and the wine is a sauvignon blanc that my husband picked up at St. Supery in Napa on a recent trip.
Potato Leek Soup
Recipe by Emeril Lagasse
1 large or 2 small leeks, about 1 pound, cleaned and thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
20 black peppercorns (I just ground up a bunch)
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons butter
2 strips bacon, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
5 cups chicken stock (I used vegetable)
1 to 1 1/4 pounds russet potatoes, diced (I used Yukon gold)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon white pepper (I skipped)
1/2 to 3/4 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream (I used half and half)
2 tablespoons snipped chives
The original recipe calls for creating a bouquet garni using some leek trimmings to make a packet that you fill with the peppercorns, bay leaves, and thyme. That is way too much work for a Tuesday night, so I just skipped that step. I just tossed the bay leaves and thyme right into the broth and fished them out before blending, then just ground in lots of fresh pepper. So much easier for essentially the same thing. Just be sure to count the bay leaves as you put them in and take them out because you don’t want to grind one of those up.
In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter and add the chopped up pieces of bacon. Stir occassionally, cooking for about 5 to 6 minutes, until the bacon is very soft and has rendered most of its fat.
Add the leeks and stir gently until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the bay and thyme, or the bouquet garni if you are using, the stock, potatoes, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and falling apart.
Remove the bouquet garni or fish out the herbs. Working in batches, puree the soup, using a a food processor, blender, or immersion blender. Stir in the cream or creme fraiche and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Sprinkle some of the snipped chives on top to serve.
Particularly delicious on a cold night with a glass of the wine you poured in (can’t let it go bad!) and a hunk of bread from a local bakery.