About the only thing I’m loving about winter this year is soup. It’s not only comforting to eat it, but very satisfying to make and to have a store of different flavours stacked up in the freezer to save us a little sanity on those crazy days!
When I make soup, I like to make a huge pot of it (especially if it’s one that takes a bit of effort) then I freeze what’s leftover from that night’s dinner, I ain’t gonna lie, this soup takes a bit of effort to make, peeling, chopping, straining, pureeing..phew..it was even exhausting writing out the recipe! I’m not trying to put you off, after all, being so delicious, it’s totally worth it! Just don’t go thinking you can start whipping some up at 5.30 and be sitting down enjoying it at 6!
P.S. If you haven’t visited my ‘recipe box’ before, scroll down for a less long-winded, condensed, printable version! 🙂 🙂
2 short or slim leeks
400 g middle bacon (7 slices)
2 medium-sized cloves of garlic
2 kilos potatoes (14-16 small/medium-sized)
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ cup + 1 tablespoon / 80 ml canola oil
3 tablespoons / 45 g butter
4 teaspoons dry vegetable stock (or 2 litres of liquid)
¾ cup / 190 ml full cream
¼ teaspoon white pepper
Optional – Italian parsley, extra cream and cracked, black pepper for garnish
Serves 8 – 10 (depending on the size of the bowls)
- You need a really large saucepan for this recipe and a kitchen ‘magic wand’ or a food processor.
- I use powdered vegetable stock for soup, liquid stock is nice but you’d need a lot. Here in NZ I buy ‘Gourmet Vegetable Stock’ and use it in all my soups (I also use it instead of chicken stock because it’s so flavourful.
LET’S DO IT!
You know the drill…prep first…b o r i n g, I know, you just want to get to the eating part! 🙁
To prepare the leeks, first, chop off two-thirds of the darker green leaves.
Then chop off the root ends, and if the outer layers look inedible (wrinkly and/or withered) remove them also. Usually, it’s just the first layer but sometimes can be two.
Next, slice the leeks straight through the centre and…
…then slice them into roughly 1½ cm slices, until you get to the darker green ends.
If the outer layers of these darker bits look tough, remove them until you get to the tender parts.
Now you can either slice up these pieces and add them to the rest of the leeks or you can slice them into ½ cm slices to use for garnish later on.
Place some cold water in the sink and if you have garnish slices, wash and…
…strain them first.
Then lay them out on a clean tea towel.
Next, wash the thicker slices and…
…strain them also…
…laying them on the tea towel next to the garnish slices.
Place another tea towel over them and pat them dry.
Place the garnish slices in a small bowl and leave the rest of the leeks in the tea towels for now.
Next, the bacon. Remove the rind and if you are garnishing your soup, slice 2 pieces of the bacon down the centre, length-ways and then slice them width-ways into thin strips.
- Often you can remove the rind from bacon easily, just by pulling it off and other times you’ll need to use a sharp knife to remove it.
Add the bacon garnish slices to the bowl with the leek garnish and place the bowl in the fridge for now.
Remove and discard the rind from the remaining bacon slices and roughly chop them up, leaving it on the board for now.
Peel and finely grate or crush the garlic and leave it on the board with the bacon pieces, also adding the leek slices to them.
Now, peel the potatoes and chop them in half.
- You don’t want to chop them up small. When making soup, bigger is better. It’s similar to making stock the longer you cook it, the more flavourful it’ll be. So, if the potato pieces are larger it’ll take longer, but taste much better!
Place them in the sink and cover them with cold water, giving them a good wash and then let the water drain out (you can just leave them in the sink for now).
That’s all the soup prep done, now you can start cooking!
So, add to a huge saucepan ¼ cup of the oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter.
Over a high heat let the two melt together until they are hot and start to bubble.
Then add the bacon and the leek slices to the saucepan and stirring often, sautée the two together for around 10 minutes or until they have softened.
- If the leeks start to ‘catch’ that’s okay it adds flavour.
Next, add the garlic and continue cooking for a further minute.
Now, throw the potatoes in, add the salt and then pour in 2 litres of water (8 x 250 ml cups) and add the 4 teaspoons of dry vegetable stock (or replace the water and dry stock with liquid stock).
- You only need to add just enough water or stock to cover the potatoes by an inch / 2 ½ cm.
Give it all a good stir and then turn the heat up to high until it all comes to a boil (pop the lid on to speed things up as this will take a while).
Once boiling turn the heat down to medium/low or to where it’s just simmering (softly boiling) and leave it to simmer for 20 – 30 minutes or until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a knife or fork.
- Of course, the cooking time depends on the size of your potato halves.
Once the potatoes are tender, if you have one of those ‘magic wand thingies‘ (I don’t…adding it to my wish list now) you can puree it all up, right there in the saucepan…careful of those hot splatters!
BUT…if you don’t have a ‘magic wand thingy‘ then you need to pull out the food processor.
Once you’ve set up the processor, place a colander on top of a large bowl or another large saucepan and strain the soup to separate the vegetables from the stock (don’t throw the stock away)!
Place the ‘veggies’ into the blender and add enough of the soup stock so that it blends nicely (it’s a lot so unless you have some sort of giant blender you’ll need to do it in two lots).
Once pureed to your liking…
…return it to the original saucepan it was cooked in and add the cream and the pepper. Also taste for saltiness. Stock is usually quite salty, so I don’t add more salt, but it’s your soup!
Turn the heat to medium and stirring often, gently heat the soup through again.
If you’ve set aside the leeks and bacon for a garnish, whilst your soup is warming through, place the remaining tablespoon of oil and the remaining tablespoon of butter in a frying pan and let it heat up over a high heat.
Add the leeks and bacon and stirring often, sautée for 5 minutes or until it’s softened and a little crispy.
Just before serving place some of the garnish in the centre of each plate and/or if you like a few leaves of Italian parsley and a sprinkling of the cracked, black pepper.
You also may like to drop and swirl a little fresh cream on top (I pour a little into the lid of the cream pottle and do this).
If freezing, let the soup thoroughly cool down before placing it in containers.
- You can transfer it to a large bowl or two, or another large saucepan that’s not hot to help it cool down faster and if you’ve made it at night and it’s still not quite cool enough by the time you go to bed, pop it in the fridge and fill your freezer containers the next day.
This soup will thicken as it cools so will need to be thinned down with a little extra stock when you reheat it…unless of course, you like it so thick that you could stand a breadstick up in it! Haha, that’s how I like my pumpkin soup!
Keepin’ it fresh – If you’ve frozen and are wanting to defrost this soup, because it’s sooo thick it takes ages to defrost. You’ll need to pop it in the fridge to defrost a few days before you need it.