Leek and Potato Soup with Dill and Pancetta

Leek and Potato Soup
Leek and Potato Soup with Fresh Dill and Pancetta

Leek and Potato soup with crispy pancetta and fresh dill is perfect any time of the year.  Grab most of the ingredients during the summer at your local farmers market  or pick up the ingredients at your local grocery store.    As soon as I start to see these ingredients at the farm stands Leek and Potato Soup with Crispy Pancetta and Fresh Dill comes to mind, but this soup is also amazing on the coldest winter day.  Leek and potato soup is quick, healthy and so satisfying.  It is a mild, smooth, comforting, soup that you will make over and over.  Follow along friends, this is a cheap and easy make-ahead meal!!  If you are looking for something vegetarian, try my Vegetable and Chickpea Soup.

The star ingredients for this wonderful meal...perfect for that budget..
The star ingredients for this wonderful meal…perfect for that budget..

Friends, I am all for a bit of indulgence now and again when it comes to making that special hot date dinner, but they don’t have to break the bank.  This leek and potato soup is a perfect example.  So much flavor will come from the combination of leeks, onions, garlic and even a little heat to spice things up from the red pepper flakes.  Do not underestimate the impact of simple ingredients properly prepared.  

Lets not forget the nutritional punch you will get from this hearty bowl of goodness.  

The onion is more than a kitchen staple. It is a world-class superfood that has received very little fanfare, most likely because of its common position in cookery. And yet, compared with high-profile foods like pomegranates, red wine, and green tea, the onion offers superior benefits for both the prevention and treatment of many common diseases, including various kinds of cancer, coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cataracts and more. In addition, onions can act as a powerful antibiotic and are helpful in reducing food-borne illnesses caused by microbial contamination.

Onions contain extraordinarily powerful compounds that possess many health benefits. Hundreds of scientific studies published on these naturally-occurring compounds show that they are highly protective to nerves and the cardiovascular system, and that they enhance immune function, fight the growth of many types of tumors, help to promote healthy hormone function, and many more.

How about the humble potatoes??  

The humble potato has fallen in popularity in recent years, due to the interest in low-carb foods.

However, the fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals it provides can help ward off disease and benefit human health.  They are a great source of Vitamin C and potassium as well as fiber.  

Clean the leeks like this...
Clean the leeks like this…

Leeks grow in sandy soil and that grit can be found through out the root section of the leek.  To clean properly, cut the white and light green part of the leek in half lengthwise and slice.   Place the slices in a large bowl of water and swish around with your hand.  The dirt will fall to the bottom of the bowl.  Then, simply skim the leeks off the top of the water (if you pour into a strainer all of the dirt will fall right back on top of the cleaned leeks) and discard the dirty water.  Repeat this step as many times as needed (until no dirt is seen in the bottom of the bowl).

The veg....leeks, onions, garlic and red pepper flakes sautéing in pancetta drippings.
The veg….leeks, onions, garlic and red pepper flakes sauteing in pancetta drippings…

I love to add as much flavor as possible when I am making anything, really, but in this case pancetta ( an Italian bacon made of pork belly meat, that is salt cured and spiced with black pepper) seemed to be the perfect way to both impart flavor and to provide a crunchy garnish.  Bacon could be used here as well, but I love to get a thick piece of pancetta and cut it into tiny cubes, it makes a very uniform look (this is best done partially frozen, it makes the cutting much easier).   

I find small, new or fingerling potatoes are perfect for this soup.  The peel can be left on, to add color and a bit of texture.  Once the potatoes are added, simmer the soup for about 10 minutes.  It is important to not over cook the potatoes or they will become mushy and fall apart.  8-10 minutes and they will be the perfect bite.  The addition of the cream and yogurt round out the soup with depth and a touch of tanginess.  Freshness is reinforced with the dill (tarragon or basil would be also be great).

 To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with crispy pancetta and fresh dill sprig.  Bon Appetit friends, everyone will love this one!  Cheers!!  

Leek and Potato Soup with Crispy Pancetta and Fresh Dill
Leek and Potato Soup with Crispy Pancetta and Fresh Dill

 

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Leek and Potato Soup with Dill and Pancetta

Leek and Potato Soup with Crispy Pancetta and Fresh Dill

Perfect anytime of the year, grab the veggies at you local farmers market or from the store you prefer.  This is quick, healthy and so satisfying!!

  • Author: Emily
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

1 oz pancetta bacon, finely cubed

2 cups leeks, white and pale green parts only, about 2 cups

½ cup onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

Large pinch of red pepper flakes

1 lb potatoes (preferably Yukon golds, but use what looks good at your farm stand), unpeeled and chopped into bite size pieces

4 cups chicken broth (see basic training for homemade)

2 T fresh dill, roughly chopped (plus more for garnish if desired)

½ cup heavy whipping cream

½ cup plain yogurt

Instructions

Heat a large soup pot over medium heat, add the cubed pancetta and cook until fully browned and crisp, stirring occasionally.  Reserve and drain on paper towels and reserve for garnish on soup. Leave the drippings in the pan.  Add the leeks, onions, garlic and red pepper flakes to the drippings and sauté until tender about 8-10 minutes.

Add the potatoes and chicken broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until potatoes

are tender.  Add the dill, cream and yogurt, stir to fully combine.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Ladle into bowls and garnish with reserved pancetta and sprigs of dill.  Enjoy!!

Notes

*Can be made 1-2 days in advance, cool completely and then refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

 


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