This one is one of my favorite soup recipes – it’s warm, filling and a very hearty winter soup, which continues to be apt even in March, when it’s still quite cold here in the North-East. I wasn’t too excited about this recipe when I first saw it because it wasn’t too colorful and I like having food that have a lot of colors, so my friend decided to spice things up a little by adding some sriracha sauce. I was very skeptical about the addition, but it definitely gave the soup that extra kick that it needed (at least for me, but then again, I love spicy food!). The sauce definitely made it more colorful and inviting than just a cream soup. I would suggest doing the same, perhaps adding a few drops of sriracha to try it out first. For those who want to make it more healthy, I would suggest cutting down on the bacon – I usually add a little less because I like the crunch that it provides, but not all the fat that comes with it.
Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking Comfort Food. Gives 4-5 servings.
- 2 medium russet potatoes (about 1/2 lb. each)
- 4 thick slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 1/2 cups sliced leeks (about 2 medium leeks; white and light green parts), rinsed well
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup grated sharp Cheddar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4-5 tablespoons thinly sliced scallion greens or fresh chives
- 2 cups homemade or lower-salt chicken broth
- sriracha sauce, optional
- Scrub the potatoes in water, pat dry, and pierce in several places with a fork. Warm them in a microwave until very tender when pierced with a fork, about 8-10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
- Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium-low heat. Add the leeks and garlic, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the broth and 2 cups water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until the leeks are very tender, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, put the bacon in a skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the bacon bits with a slotted spoon to a saucer lined with paper towels to drain and cool.
- When the potatoes are cool, cut one of them in half lengthwise. Use a large spoon to scoop the flesh in one piece from each half. Cut the flesh into 1/2-inch cubes and add to the pot with the leeks. Purée the contents of the pot until very smooth. A hand blender would work really well here, because it can be a pain to transfer the mixture to an ordinary blender.
- After pureeing, heat the soup over medium low. In a small bowl, whisk the milk and sour cream until smooth and then whisk this into the soup, along with 1/2 cup of the Cheddar. The soup should be fairly thick, but if it seems too thick, thin it with a little water. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with the remaining Cheddar, the bacon bits, and the scallions or chives.