Leek and bacon soup with crispy leeks
Serve up this warming winter soup for lunch with an extra special flourish to finish…
My mom grew green beans (any variety of French beans) every summer and I was made to pick them on a regular basis. Back then I hated it as I would have much rather been playing with my friends.
Now, I have my own allotment and always grow green beans. This recipe is a great way to use up the summer gluts and can be served as a side dish or as part of a mezze.
Method for the Soup
- Preheat the oven to 165°C.
- Prepare the leeks. Trim the root and dark green ends and set the trimmings aside- you'll use them for the garnish. Cut the leeks in half lengthwise, but do not cut all the way through the root end - the leek halves should still be connected at the base. Rinse the leeks under running water, fanning out the layers to rinse away any dirt that might be trapped there. Set the leeks aside.
- Fry the diced bacon in a frying pan over medium-low heat, until crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
- Transfer 1-2 teaspoons of the rendered bacon fat to a 9x9 inch baking or gratin dish and use a pastry brush to grease the pan with the hot bacon fat.
- Add one ½ pint of chicken stock to the empty dish and turn the heat up to high. Bring to a boil and scrape up the good crusty bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Turn off the heat. Stir in the smashed garlic clove and chopped lemon thyme.
- Place the cleaned leeks in the greased baking dish. Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, and the crispy bacon. Pour the chicken stock mixture over the leeks. Cover the baking dish with foil, and place in the oven to braise for 30 minutes.
- After the first 30 minutes, use tongs to flip the leeks over to the other side and recover with foil. Braise for an additional 30 minutes, or until the leeks are very tender.
- Meanwhile, make the fried leek garnish (recipe below).
- Remove the baking dish from the oven and let cool briefly. During the cooling time, add the remaining stock to the dish you used earlier and bring to a simmer over low heat.
- Purée the leeks and braising liquid in a blender along with a ladle-full of the stock. Transfer the purée to the pan with the rest of the simmering stock. Bring the soup to a simmer, and then remove from heat. Stir in the heavy cream and lemon juice, and add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fried leeks.
Ingredients for Crispy Leek Garnish
- Leek trimmings, leftover from making the soup
- 50g plain flour
- 100ml olive oil
Method for the Crispy Leek Garnish
- While the leeks are braising, prepare the crispy leek garnish.
- From the tops of the leeks that you trimmed earlier, remove the outer layers until you get to the lighter green, tender centre. Slice these tender bits thinly, lengthwise, so that you’re left with little strips of leek. These should be about two inches in length, so cut those in half if need be. Rinse these to get rid of any sand, and then pat dry.
- Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat until shimmery. Toss the leeks and the flour in a small bowl. Shake off any excess flour and drop the leeks into the hot oil. Fry until the leeks just begin to turn golden - they should still be mostly green. Remove from the skillet and drain on paper towels, and sprinkle immediately with salt.
- Good homemade soup needs good homemade bread. One of the best sourdoughs around comes from Velo Bakery. Whether you prefer white sourdough or malted, this authentic, chewy, crusty sourdough is a soup’s best friend!
Pure Gold from Purity Brewing
Finish your lunch off with a hearty ale to match your hearty soup. Pure Gold from Purity Brewing is a fresh golden ale that can easily match the strong flavours of this soup.
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