Monday, January 5, 2009


I wanted to make a potato soup that would not be heavy or overwhelming, and I had a couple of leeks calling to me from the crisper, so I decided that a cold-weather version of vichyssoise would be yummy. And what better way to achieve the darker, more robust version than to add some bacon?! And of course, serve it hot.

5 strips unsmoked bacon
2 leeks, cleaned and chopped
2 shallots, chopped
1/2 cup fino sherry
4 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 quart chicken or veggie stock
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp thyme
splash heavy cream (about 1/4 cup)

First, render the bacon in a large saute pan. When it is very crispy, remove from pan with tongs and drain on paper towels. Set aside. In same pan, saute the shallots and leeks until very soft, about 7 minutes. Add sherry to deglaze the pan, and saute another 2 minutes.

Move leek mixture to a large soup pot. Add potatoes, stock, water, salt, pepper, thyme and celery seed. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Cover and cook about 40 minutes, or until potatoes are quite soft. While it's cooking, break up the crispy bacon into small crumbles, called lardons.

Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until it is very smooth. Add the cream and whisk in. Taste, and adjust seasonings (typically plenty of salt).

To plate, ladle hot soup into a bowl and garnish with lardons. You can also add snipped chive, but it's not really necessary.

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