I promised you warm wintery food this month, so here’s a start! I’ve always loved potato soup (in fact I remember happily eating leftover soup for breakfast as a child) and this is a versatile one that can either be a lovely creamy soup, or a more hearty chunky one.
It starts with the classic potato and leek, and adds celery and bacon to contribute both that wonderful grassy freshness from the celery and smoky richness from the bacon. It’s a bit like a topped baked potato in soup form if that makes any sense, and makes a lovely lunch with some crusty bread.
I blended in all the bacon in this batch, but you could easily save some to garnish along with the parsley or chives and cream – the garnishes aren’t essential, but as it’s quite a mild, though delicious, soup, the extra crunch and flavour definitely adds some extra interest.
By the way, I wasn’t aware when I decided to post this, but apparently it’s currently Australian Bacon Week! (Thanks Liz for the reminder) So, over to you, what’s your favourite winter soup with bacon?
Potato, celery, leek and bacon soup
- 200g streaky bacon
- 2 large leeks
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 stalks celery
- 750g potatoes (about 6 small to medium)
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1.5L chicken stock
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- parsley or chives to garnish
- thick fresh or sour cream to serve (optional)
If making the pureed soup: chop bacon and vegetables roughly as pictured above. Add bacon to a large saucepan and heat gently until the fat runs. Continue to fry until browned and beginning to crisp. If you want to garnish the soup with bacon, remove half now and leave to cool before chopping finely.
Add leek and garlic to pan and cook gently about 5 minutes until softened. Add celery and cook another two minutes. Add potatoes, thyme, bay leaf and stock and a little salt and pepper and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20-25 minutes until vegetables are tender. Remove bay leaf and thyme stalks (the leaves will probably have fallen off and mixed in).
Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before pureeing in batches in a blender until smooth.
If making a chunky soup: follow same method, but finely chop bacon, crush garlic, thinly slice leeks and celery, and dice potatoes in approx half inch cubes. Cook for only 15-20 minutes until potato is just tender. Don’t blend.
For either version, serve garnished with reserved bacon (if using) and chopped parsley or chives, and a dollop of fresh or sour cream.