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Recipe by Chef Wolfgang Puck
1/4 pound sliced smoked bacon, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 small organic leeks, trimmed, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 organic carrot, peeled, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups organic chicken broth
3 pounds organic baking potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, finely shredded
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives or thinly sliced scallions
In a large saucepan, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain; set aside. Carefully drain off all but 1 tablespoon of the drippings from the pan.
Return the pan to medium heat. Add the butter and, as soon as it has melted, stir in the leeks, onion, carrots, and garlic. Saute, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour until fully incorporated. Stirring continuously, gradually pour in the chicken broth.
Add the potatoes, raise the heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a bare simmer, partially cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
Put the cheese in a large, heatproof mixing bowl. Stirring continuously, gradually ladle in about a fourth of the hot soup, continuing to stir until the cheese has melted and fully blended into the broth.
Return the cheese mixture to the saucepan. Stirring continuously, gradually pour in the cream and stir in the salt and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the soup is almost boiling.
Ladle the soup into serving bowls. Garnish with the reserved bacon and chives or scallions. Serve immediately.
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