Holiday Hors D'oeuvres: Potato Leek Soup with Cheddar Crisp and Bacon

November 29, 2011 8:37:05 AM PST
Elaina Vazquez is a Chicago native and acclaimed chef with an affinity for restaurant-quality flavor, as a previous prodigy of renowned restaurants, such as Tru, Avenues at the Peninsula Hotel, and Joel Robuchon at the Mansion, MGM Grand. Now, a leader in edible elegance, Elaina serves as executive chef of Boutique Bites.

Potato Leek Soup with Cheddar Crisp & Bacon
Yield: about 8 servings

1/4 pound bacon, diced
2 large leeks, use white and pale green part, split lengthwise, rinsed well and sliced thinly
5 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
4oz sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded
Creme fraiche, for garnish
Tarragon leaves, chopped


  1. In a soup pot, render bacon on low heat until crisp. Remove crispy bacon and reserve for garnish.
  2. Add sliced leeks to bacon fat and cook on low heat until softened with no color. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add potatoes to pot and stir together with the leeks. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add chicken broth and water to potato mixture, and simmer uncovered until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
  5. Transfer soup to a blender and puree until smooth. You can leave it slightly chunky for texture if you like. Or use a hand blender to puree soup directly in the pot.
  6. Finish soup with heavy cream and adjust seasoning.

For Cheddar Crisps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees . Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Sprinkle cheddar on the baking sheet in eight 2-inch rounds.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly darkened.
  4. Blot the crisps with paper towels and let cool. They will harden as they cool.

To Serve:
Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with reserved bacon, cheddar crisp, a dollop of creme fraiche, chopped tarragon, and cracked black pepper.

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