Thanksgiving is just days away so if you are anything like me you are busy cooking up a storm in preparation for the big day. But you (and your family) can’t wait until Thursday to eat; you need dinner tonight. This time of year I am all about easy and satisfying meals that can be made in minutes leaving me plenty of time to concentrate on the impending big dinner. Enter this creamy potato and leek soup that is topped with crispy pancetta.
I love how creamy this soup is and most surprising of all, there isn’t a drop of cream or milk in the entire recipe. The thick texture of the soup comes solely from the pureed potatoes and leeks. The pancetta is optional, if you prefer to make a vegetarian version of the soup, simply omit the pancetta. But my family loves pancetta so we like to top the soup with a healthy serving of the crispy meat. It makes the soup taste all that much richer and satisfying.
PANCETTA & POTATO LEEK SOUP
1/4 pound pancetta, diced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large leeks, white and green parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
3 large russt potatoes, peeled and diced
4 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh chives, minced
Fry the pancetta in a heavy soup pot set over medium-high heat. Stir the pancetta occasionally to keep it from sticking and make sure it is browned on all sides, approximately 6-8 minutes.
Remove the pancetta from the pan, drain on a plate lined with paper towels and set aside.
Add the butter to the pancetta drippings and heat until melted.
Add the leeks to the pan and stirring occasionally, cook for 8-10 minutes or until the leeks have softened.
Add the potatoes to the pot, cover and cook for 4-5 minutes until the potatoes begin to soften but not brown.
Add the chicken broth to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Thin with additional broth if the soup is too thick.
Season with the pepper.
Serve the soup in warmed bowls topped with the crispy pancetta and the minced chives.