I am really excited about this soup! It is incredibly rich and flavorful; and, even better–it can be made in double or triple portions to freeze for later use. I really like any recipe I can commit an afternoon to and have MANY meals as a result. This recipe takes an already great medley of comforting flavors and elevates them to comforting, rich, delicious, and elegant. I am posting now because where I live in Leesburg, VA: the time to plant leeks is coming in a couple of weeks. They are very easy to grow and fresh leeks taste sooooo much better. This recipe is a great motivator. It is incredibly nice to defrost a fresh soup in the middle of winter. Depending on your zone, most others can also grow them this time of year as well so don’t feel left out. 🙂 Please comment below to tell me if you like it as much as we do!!! This recipe is for a single batch (you can double or triple at will):
about one pound of leeks: This is more than you may think. Weigh them to get the right proportions.
2 bay leaves
20 black peppercorns–yes, the counting matters. I tried this with a few more and the flavor was still good but definitely “pepper heavy.”
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 tbsp. of butter
2 strips bacon, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
5 cups chicken stock
1- 1 1/4 pounds russet potatoes, diced
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoons white pepper (the white pepper part is really about aesthetics. For basic flavor you can also use black).
1/2-3/4 cup crème fraiche or heavy cream. ( I have used heavy cream with excellent results)
2 tbsp. snipped chives.
- Make a Bouquet Garni. You can wrap the thyme, peppercorns, and bay leaves in two of the longest green portions of your leeks; or, you can wrap the leek leaves, bay leaves, peppercorns, and thyme in cheesecloth or a food safe spice bag. I prefer the cheesecloth or food safe bag because of convenience. The “leek leaf” method is super cool; but, it can be challenging to get tied securely enough.
- Halve the white park of the leek lengthwise and rinse really well. You would be surprised how much dirt stays in there. Slice thin crosswise and set aside.
- In a large pot melt the butter over medium heat and add your bacon. Cook about 5 minutes. Don’t over brown. . .just get the bacon really soft and having rendered most of the fat. Stir occasionally so the bacon/butter don’t burn.
- Add the leeks and cook about 5 minutes–until the leeks are soft and wilted.
- Add wine and bring to a boil.
- Add the bouquet garni, basil, paprika, chicken stock, potatoes, salt and white pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are easily mashed. About 30 minutes.
- Remove the bouquet and puree the soup in a food processor or blender. If you have an immersion blender you can just use this to puree right in your pot. If you are using a food processor or blender. . .remember to work in small batches. Never fill the processor/blender more than halfway. Either leave the center part of a blender lid out or leave a corner open to let out heat and prevent a mini “explosion.” Or you can let the soup cool a bit before pureeing. This step is very much to personal preference. If you like a “chunkier soup” barely puree. If you like a smooth soup blend the heck out of it. Finally, if you puree the entire thing the soup will be VERY thick. If you puree 1/3-1/2 and add the rest in you will have medium soup with texture. This is very much personal preference but feel free to play with it to get the perfect soup for you.
- Stir in cream
- Serve immediately. I like to use snipped chives from my garden as a garnish and/or the flower of basil which is beautiful with chives. As mentioned you can also freeze to bring out later for a fresh taste of garden delicacy.