I love potato leek soup. It’s definitely in my top ten favorite soups. Thinking of my top ten, I wonder what they would be. Tomato for sure, corn and clam chowder are musts. Yum, I love a good clam chowder just as much as a I hate a bad one. Both broccoli cheese and chicken tortilla would have to make the list and a good black bean is always perfectly creamy and spicy. Hummm, so far that’s seven. Oh and let’s not forget lobster bisque! I’ll have to think about what my other two would be and get back to you.
Although, I do enjoy the creamy goodness of potato leek soup, I don’t like all the fat that comes with it. I have to eat so much less of it when it’s loaded with butter, cream, whole milk and bacon. So I decided to figure out a way to slim it down without losing all the yummy creaminess and flavor. I kept the bacon and butter and got rid of the milk and cream. It’s still just as yummy and so wonderfully creamy that you will never miss all that extra added fat.
The trick is to use very high quality bacon, butter and a great veggie stock. Yes, of course you could use chicken but I had this wonderful veggie stock leftover from making my Fall Harvest Bisque, so I used it instead. It lowers the fat and calorie content, which this time of year I applaud anything that comes out tasting fabulous and yet manages to get rid of some of the calories. I eat plenty of them as it is.
By using high quality ingredients, you don’t need as much to get the same amount of flavor from this soup as adding cream and milk. The fat rendered from the bacon combined with the butter give the soup the perfect amount of smooth silky fat flavoring that you don’t miss the rest of it. It would also be easy to make this soup vegetarian or vegan just by leaving out the bacon and substituting the butter for a vegetarian version.
Slimmed Down Potato Leek Soup
4 slices of thick peppered smoked bacon, sliced across in about 1/4″ pieces
2 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. Olive oil
4 cups leeks, sliced and washed
6 cups veggie stock
6 cups Yukon Gold or red potatoes, sliced, peelings on
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
Salt and Pepper to taste
In a large soup pot over medium heat, cook bacon in olive oil until crispy. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels, leaving olive oil and rendered fat in the pan. Return the pot to the heat and add the butter to the pot. Add about a quarter of a cup of the leeks to the pot and cook until crispy, removing with the slotted spoon when done. Set aside for garnishing the soup.
Place the rest of the leeks in the pot and cook until soft, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Add 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper to the leeks and cook until fragrant before adding the sliced potatoes to the pot.
Pour in the veggie stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes to 35 minutes.
Add the almond milk to the pot and cook for 5 more minutes. Take one cup of the potatoes and leeks from the pot, set aside.
Using a stick blender or regular blender, purée the potatoes/leek mixture until smooth. Add the reserved cup of potatoes and leek back to the pot and return the pot to the stove and simmer for about five more minutes or until heated through. Stir in most of the bacon, garnish with crispy leeks and bacon and serve hot.
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