Right now at the farmer’s market you can find some beautiful emerald green to snowy white leeks in season, along with crates and crates of dimpled, imperfect potatoes. I love the farmer’s market, and in Sonoma County we have a year-round one that is off the hook. If you don’t have a habit of hitting up the famer’s market, make it one. And if you do, ask more questions. I found from talking to the local potato dude (dirt under the nails and all) that German Butterballs are the best to make mash potatoes. They are creamy and just as the name suggests- buttery. Except they don’t yell at you in German.
Look! I even found a heart shaped one!
This recipe was inspired by Emeril Lagasse’s recipe for Potato and Leek Soup, as well as a few others. I dug Emeril’s because he uses bacon and wine. Say it again. Bacon. And wine. Hold me.
Be sure to thoroughly rinse your leeks in a large bowl of cool water to rid them of sand and grit. You can throw your bacon in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before slicing to make it easier. I never remember this handy little tip until I’m slicing bacon and it’s sticking to the knife and I go, “oh yeah…..the freezer trick…”
One could easily make this vegan by using olive oil in place of rendered bacon fat and vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. If you can’t find German Butterball potatoes use Russet potatoes instead.
- 2-3 medium leeks, dark green leaves and root discarded, halved lengthwise and sliced thinly. Soak and swish in large bowl water to rid of sand and grit.
- 3 slices smoked bacon, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup white wine
- 5 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup plain soy milk
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 1¼ pounds butterball or russet potato, quartered
- ¼ cup dairy-free cream cheese (I like Tofutti)
- 2 tablespoons snipped chives, for garnish (optional)
- Brown bacon over medium heat in dutch oven or large pot. Drain on paper towels, reserving rendered fat in pot. Save bacon for garnish (try not to snack on all of it while the soup simmers).
- Return rendered bacon fat over medium-high heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring often until wilted, 5-8 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in wine and bring to a boil. Add stock, soy milk, bay leaves, thyme and potatoes. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium, cover and cook 25-30 minutes or until potatoes are tender and falling apart.
- Discard bay leaves and thyme. Working in batches, blend in blender or food processor along with dairy-free cream cheese until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately and sprinkle with reserved bacon and chives.