Monday, October 8, 2012

31 Days of Fall: PBL Soup!

Can you believe that we are already this far into October? It will be Halloween before we know it! I'm far behind in my decorating plans for the season, so I need to get buddied up with pinterest and back on the ball!

I thought it might be fun to show you the delicious PBL (Potato, Bacon & Leek) Soup that I love to make! It isn't J's favorite meal (J is not a big fan of sandwiches or soup, but he eats them because he loves me, and I LOVE SOUP!). Besides, while he is eating it he loves it, and now that things are getting nice and chilly around here, he is glad to have a steaming bowl of bacon deliciousness.

PBL is about as easy as it can get for soup. Prepare your potatoes by washing them and cutting them. For this particular time, I ended up actually having to peel my potatoes (WHICH I NEVER DO!) because my bag of potatoes went all 1740's Ireland on me. Yes, that is right - I had to peel the blight right off of them (never mind just getting new potatoes). So, yeah, I peeled them this time, but I typically won't.

The leeks are about the most complicated part of the recipe. I cut off the dark green tops, and then slice the remaining part of the leek into about 1/4 inch slices. Then I dump the whole mess into a large bowl full of water, and try to split all the rings apart. Leeks grow in the dirt, and the dirt gets trapped between the layers of the leek (a mild onion, in case you didn't know). So, if you don't want gritty dirt soup, CLEAN YOUR LEEKS. The water does all the work, and after a few swirls, most of the dirt sinks to the bottom while your beautiful bounty of onion floats on the top.

For the bacon, I freeze it before hand, which might seem counterintuitive, but bacon is a million times easier to work with frozen, especially if you are cutting it into lardons and frying it up that way anway.

After you are done frying your bacon, scoop the bacon out with a slotted spoon, and dump your leeks right into the bacon fat to saute them before combining all the ingredients together in your soup pot. 1. Bacon is delicious. 2. Why waste bacon fat? 3. You need a fat to cook down the onions anyway... so duh, just do it!

DON'T PULL THEM STRAIGHT FROM THE WATER INTO THE FRYING PAN, PLEASE! I lay my leeks out on some paper towels to get rid of excess moisture that way.

And then, you just throw it all in the pot together, pour in about 8 cups of chicken stock, salt and pepper, and of course some rosemary makes things wonderful.

I bring the whole thing up to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer and let it go for about 20 minutes (long enough for the potatoes to get soft). Then I add about 1/3 a cup of milk (or 1/4 a cup of heavy cream if you have that), stir it gently, and let it cook just a few more minutes. Serve it warm - it is amazing and bacony and delicious!