Inspired by the French classic of baby leek and potato soup, this soup, with a hint of bacon, is always a hit with guests at the restaurant and at home. It works well as either a starter or a main course.–Michel Deville and Brendan O’Farrell
Leek and Potato Soup with Bacon
- To prepare the leeks, chop off and discard the root ends, the top dark green parts and any discolored outer leaves. Halve the white and tender pale green parts of the leeks lengthwise, then cut into 1/4-inch slices. Wash the slices thoroughly in cold water to get rid of any trapped sand or soil, and drain in a colander. You should have about 4 cups of cut leeks after trimming and cleaning.
- Fry the bacon over medium heat in a large skillet until it begins to brown. Remove the bacon from the skillet and set aside in a bowl lined with paper towels. In a large saucepan or heavy stock pot, melt the butter over medium heat until it bubbles. Add the onion and leeks, and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, until the leeks soften.
- Add the potatoes, bacon, and the stock. Bring the soup to a boil, for 1 minute, then reduce heat, cover and simmer gently over low heat, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through, without becoming too soft. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste and serve with a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I made only one notation on this recipe as I tested it. That was that in the future I’d fry the bacon in the large saucepan and just wipe it out with a paper towel to continue with the soup. No need to dirty a sauté pan. We found this soup to be just what the author indicated, a nice variation on the classic. Leeks and potatoes, what could be better? Some lovely smoky bacon and a dollop of crème fraîche, that’s what. Warm, rich, and comforting, it was a perfect simple lunch on a recent frigid New England afternoon.
No wonder this is a hit at their restaurant. It’s full of the smoky flavor the bacon imparts, and I was surprised by it. We served it with rack of lamb, and, as much as I love lamb, I was drawn to the comfort of this soup. Quick, quick, quick. I would make this again and again. It’s right on with the leeks and potatoes. I don’t think it needed the sour cream, it was perfect without it.
This was a simple, fast, and tasty soup. Everyone really liked it. I actually made two batches, one where I followed the recipe exactly, and the other where I left the skins on the potatoes. Not surprisingly, everyone predicted correctly which version they would prefer. This is a great winter soup that I will make again.
I made this soup last night but with a slight twist. I followed the instructions to a T, but instead of adding all the crisp bacon along with the potatoes, I added just 1/3 of it. Once the soup was fully cooked, I puréed it in the blender to create a nice smooth soup, similar to a classic vichyssoise. I then served it chilled with the remaining bacon crumbled on the top, which gave the soup a nice contrast of crunchiness along with the smoothness. Everyone absolutely loved the soup, and we still have enough to enjoy some more today. A perfect twist to this recipe for a hot summer day.
Originally published April 17, 2006