It's no wonder January is National Soup Month. With the cold temperatures and snowy days, I want to make a fresh kettle of soup every couple of days. And, in fact, that's exactly what I've been doing.
I made one of my go-to favorite soups, potato-leek, as the snow fell on Friday. I always stick to this basic recipe. Sometimes I add some pancetta or country ham; sometimes I forget to buy or make stock and use water. This time, I got the bright idea to add a little cayenne pepper for depth. We loved the way the heat of the cayenne played off the smokiness of the bacon!
- 6-7 slices bacon
- 3 leeks, chopped (white and light green portion)
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 7-8 Russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into quarters
- 64 oz box chicken broth
- 1/3 cup half-and-half
- Kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper (optional)
- Parmesan cheese and scallions for garnish
Cut bacon into lardons. Place in dutch oven over medium heat; cook until bacon is lightly browned and fat has rendered. Add leeks and garlic, cook until translucent (3-4 minutes). Add potatoes; let cook for 10-15 minutes. Add chicken broth (It's better to use homemade stock, but packaged broth will do in a pinch...) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let cook for about 25-30 minutes, until potatoes are soft. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Using an immersion blender (or a food processor), blend most of the soup, leaving a few chunks of potato. Add half-and-half and let cook another 10 minutes or so before serving. If leaving on the stove for a while, you may need to gradually add water to keep from thickening too much.