As the mornings get warmer and it becomes a little easier to get out of bed, it makes sense to look beyond hearty winter fare for something lighter. Although it's almost time to put away the casserole dish, I still find myself seeking a bowlful of something comforting with just a hint of spring. This soup is warming enough to carry you through the last days of winter with a hint of springtime green. It is a lovely medley of creamy smoked bacon chowder and aromatic leeks and parsley that cut through the richness.
Although leeks are usually at their best in autumn, I have recently noticed beautiful baby leeks on offer that welcome spring perfectly. This dish would also be ideal for those seeking something to ease them into autumn when regular leeks are plentiful. Leeks are used in two ways. Firstly as an aromatic base and secondly to finish the soup with a burst of fresh flavour. Visit your butcher and seek out the best bacon you can find for delightfully moorish cubes that add a deep, smoky richness.
This will also be my entry to Weekend Herb Blogging created by Kalyn and hosted by Melissa of Cooking Diva.
Bacon and Leek Chowder
3 baby leeks or 1 large leek chopped
1/2 tbsp butter
150g/5oz smoked bacon cubed
1/2 finely diced carrot
2 small potatoes cubed
4 cups homemade chicken stock
2 tbsp cream
Sauté two of the baby leeks or 2/3 of a large leek with the cubed bacon in a large pot. You shouldn’t require additional fat unless your bacon is particularly lean. Add the diced carrot and allow to soften slightly before adding the cubed potato. Pour over the chicken stock and add the thyme. Allow to simmer on the lowest heat until the potato is cooked through and the thyme is infused.
Season to taste. Remove the thyme. In a separate pan sauté the remaining leek in the butter and spoon over the soup. Take off the heat and stir through the cream to finish. Serve in large bowls with a generous sprinkle of parsley and buttery slices of bread.