Potato Leek Soup (vichyssoise)

 photo null_zpsc9841adf.jpgI discovered this tasty soup years ago as a commercial dry soup mix.  For years that's how I made it, until I discovered how to make it from scratch on a TV show.  I guess I never noticed leeks at the grocery store an they were not a part of my family meals or diet growing up.

It's simple to make, so if seeing leeks at the grocer or farmer's market, I always pick up a few to make soup and also to slice into salads.  They have a mild garlic/onion taste.

They keep well in the refrigerator, and I use them like one would use green onions in a recipe.  Some folks serve this soup cold, but I like it warm and often use a an appetizer soup for meals.

I'm planting leeks this year and hoping  for a steady supply once I get a bed of them started, which will reduce the cost even more.

Using cream does make it richer tasting, but at times I've simply used milk and it's still a great tasting soup.

 photo null_zps54cd347b.jpgPotato & Leek Soup
2 - 3 medium leeks, cleaned and dark green sections removed
3 Tabs. butter
3 - 4 thin slices of bacon cooked and crumbled
1 pound potatoes, peeled and cubed small
3 - 4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup half & half
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1/2 tsp. salt or to taste
1 Tab. snipped chives or green onion for garnish

Trim off dark green portions of the leek, half the white part lengthwise and rinse well under cold running water to wash off any dirt. Slice thinly crosswise and set aside. Cooking time is shortened when leeks are sliced thin rather than chopped.
 photo null_zps05ca155c.jpgIn a 6-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt butter, add bacon and cook until bacon fat renders and pieces are crisp. Remove bacon and set aside.

Add leek slices and cook for 5 minutes. Add potatoes, broth, bay leaf, salt and pepper, increase heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to low, cover, and gently simmer until the potatoes are soft, approximately 30 - 45 minutes.

Turn off heat, cool down a bit then puree mixture with a food processor, blender, or  immersion wand, until smooth. Stir in the cream, half & half. Taste and adjust seasoning. Simmer until all is heated.

Sprinkle with chives and crumbled bacon and serve immediately, or chill and serve cold (vichyssoise) Serves 6-8.

Estimated cost: $5.00 or less with buying leek and cream; .66 cents or less per serving. Using milk lowers the cost per serving.

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