With a couple of potatoes on hand, you can create this filling soup -- it’s like a baked potato in a bowl.
From Fine Cooking Comfort Food, Taunton Press, 2011
|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||2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallion greens or fresh chives|
|2 cups homemade or lower-salt chicken broth|
Heat the oven to 375°F. Scrub the potatoes in water, pat dry, and pierce in several places with a fork. Set them directly on an oven rack and bake until very tender when pierced with a fork, about 1 hour. 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 set aside. Coarsely chop the potato skin and the entire remaining potato and add to the pot with the leeks. Purée the contents of the pot in a blender until very smooth (you’ll need to work in batches).
Return the puréed soup to a clean soup pot and reheat 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. Stir in the diced potato. 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.
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