Saturday, October 3, 2009

Potato and Leek Soup with Bacon and Kale

Fall is officially here, and it's COLD and rainy outside. The best way to chase a chill is with warm cider and hot liquids, and 'round here that means soup.

This dinner began after a trip to market. First, the haul:

Giant bell peppers!

Onions, garlic, and cortland apples, which I've fallen in love with. They're not too sweet but very crisp and juicy.

And finally, the potatoes:

I love soup, and I love leeks, and I LOVE bacon, but somehow I've not yet managed to share the recipe for one of my favorite soups:

Potato and Leek Soup with Bacon and Kale

Begin with approximately 20 baseball-sized yellow potatoes, roughly chopped. Boil in heavily salted water until they're cooked through, and drain. In the bottom of the stock pot, cook:

5-7 slices of bacon, chopped
1 whole leek, halved and sliced

Cook until the bacon renders its fat and the leeks soften and become very fragrant. Add 4 cloves of garlic until fragrant (just one minute).

Pour into the pan:

The boiled potatoes
4 c. chicken stock
2 c. milk

Or, enough liquid of your choice to just cover the potatoes, leeks, and bacon. Bring all this to a boil. Then, add:

5-10 leaves of kale, chopped into small pieces (optional)

Cook the kale for two minutes, then remove the soup from heat. Use your immersion blender or food processor to puree the soup to your desired texture.

I served mine with chopped fresh chives and sage. Delicious, and very filling. This is one of my favorite ways to use bacon, where it's promenantly featured, but stretched very far with a cheap ingredient.

There's some exciting news happening outside of the kitchen these days! I've been given a scholarship to attend a conference called From Commodity to Commuity: Food Politics and Projects in the Heartland. I hope to create a podcast featuring interviews with some attendees, but I will surely be blogging during the entire conference (Saturday, Sunday, and Monday). I look forward to sharing what I learn there, and becoming more informed about developing and strengthening food networks in my area.


Linda - one scoop at a time said...

Congratulations on the scholarship. I went to the link and am quite impressed with what the conference offers. Can't wait to see your blog reviews.

Did your soup turn out oily at all or was the grease absorbed into the potatoes? I've been weary of using bacon in soups but yours doesn't look oily at all.

Alicia said...

Linda! Thanks for the comment.
The soup was not at all oily. I let the bacon render its fat and a lot of water evaporated, which is why the photo of the pot is quite steamy.
Using only around 5 slices of bacon assured that I only had a couple tablespoons of fat total. If you're afraid you'll have too much fat, before you add the potatoes, you can drain as much of the liquid fat as you want.
Nice to hear from you, and looks like you had a lot of fun and learned a lot at Blogher!

Sara Sheeley said...

Hey Alicia, it's Jake's friend Sara... I've been stalking your blog for a while and I'm gonna make this soup tonight! I'm gardenless but my parents have a huge one with leeks and potatoes and kale to spare! I also wanted to mention that the best time to plant garlic is coming up--Columbus Day. Maybe you already knew, but my parents have had a lot better luck planting now than in the spring!

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