Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Crock Pot Leek & Potato Soup


I'll admit I'm not a fan of cold weather.  It gets dark far too early for my comfort in the winter and I'm a terrible driver when it snows.  Although my husband will tell you I'm not the best driver even when the weather is fine.  But I digress...One upside to the cooler temperatures is it makes for a great time to eat and make soup.  Something about the cooler weather just makes me crave good ole comfort food like soup.
When I'm out doing my Christmas shopping at the mall, I usually look forward to swinging by Panera Bread to grab a bowl of soup and a sandwich.  Have y'all tried their Broccoli Cheddar Soup before?  Creamy and cheesy and full of comfort.  It is one of my favorites. And they always give you that nice hunk of bread with it too.
My sweet friend Amanda likes the Creamy Tomato Soup with a grilled cheese sandwich.  She really likes the cheesy croutons they put in there.  She's just a big kid at heart really. 
My son's favorite is no surprise - Chicken Noodle Soup. That one is low-fat and all-natural too for all of you watching your diet. When it comes to Panera soups, it's all about fresh and simple ingredients.  There aren't any weird or unknown fillers here.  Just good, basic ingredients combined to pack a lot of flavor. It's all part of their "Good Goes In" philosophy.  And you know it when you taste it.  

So, using Panera soups and their philosophy as my inspiration, I decided to come up with a recipe for a soup that uses leeks. Panera's Sonoma Chicken Stew uses leeks as an ingredient and it really adds some phenomenal flavor to the soup party.  Have you ever seen a leek? Have you cooked with a leek?  Do you know what one is?
They look like an overgrown green onion, don't they? And that's because they are related.  If you like onions and green onions, then chances are you going to enjoy the leek.  It has a mild onion flavor.  The only thing you have to remember when using leeks is you have to clean them well and cook them up before adding them to any dish.  If you can't find leeks where you live, then please feel free to substitute an onion in this recipe.
Ingredients:
6 slices of bacon, chopped
2 leeks, chopped (just use the light green & white parts)
1 (32 oz.) container, chicken broth
2 cups water
5 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup celery, diced
½ tsp. dried dill weed
1 tsp. garlic powder
salt & pepper, to taste
2 cups half & half
½ cup all-purpose flour
Garnish: Shredded cheddar cheese, bacon pieces


 
Directions:
If you've never worked with leeks before, let me walk you through the steps.
First you need to cut off the dark green parts and discard.
You don't use them at all. Put them in a compost bin or some people use them for stocks.
 Cut off the root end, then cut the leek vertically down the middle.
 Leeks are dirty little veggies. They grow in sandy soil so they trap that soil in their layers.
After we cut up the leeks, we'll rinse them really well.

 Cut into about 1-inch slices.

I just love that onion-y smell as I'm dicing them up.
 Now put the diced leeks into a bowl of water to rinse. Or put them in a colander like I do and squirt them with water.
This will help get all the dirt out that might be trapped in the layers of the leeks.
Dry them well.
Now it's time to cook them.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add chopped bacon.  
Allow some of the fat to render from the bacon and let it brown slightly. 
Then add in chopped leeks.  Cook until leeks are soft and bacon is crisp.

No picture for this step, sorry. I dropped my camera and had to do some repairs before continuing.  All part of the fun of being a food blogger!

Drain any excess grease.
Transfer bacon and leeks to your slow cooker (it needs to be at least a 6-quart slow cooker).
  Add in potatoes, carrots, and celery.
Stir in chicken broth.
And water.

And don't forget the seasonings (dill weed, garlic powder and salt & pepper).


Give it all a good stir, then cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours.


During the last 30 minutes of cooking, in a medium bowl, whisk together half & half with flour.  
Add this mixture to the slow cooker and stir well.
Cook for an additional 30 minutes. Now, at this point, give it a taste.  
I always find I need to add a bit more salt, but I’ll leave that up to your taste buds.
 Serve and top with shredded cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon
Cook’s Notes: If you can’t find leeks, you can substitute for one medium onion.

Enjoy!

16 comments:

Monica Tamagri said...

I just love how you take the time to show step by step tutorials. Im not much of a cooker or a baker, but let me tell you. I have found joy in doing both and with my girls too. Thanks Soooo Much.. This soup looks Wonderful!! Cant wait to try it. Smilez, Monica :)

Nikki said...

This looks so yummy! I will definitely put it on my to-do list.

The Country Cook said...

Thank you Monica! I'm so happy you like the step by step photos! Makes my day to hear that. I really hope y'all love this one!

Lindsay said...

Hi! I think this looks great! I am including it in a slow cooker recipe collection here http://mommyssweetconfessions.blogspot.com/2012/12/34-slow-cooker-soups-stews-and-chilis.html

Kari Lindsay said...

This soup looks delish, and I love that you added dill!

rockergirl83 said...

Hello! This recipe looks delicious. I wanted to make this for me and my mom when she comes over for lunch. The only thing is, she has changed her diet to wheat and gluten free. So, the flour in milk would be a no-no. Can I use a gluten free frlou and still have the same effect? Or should I use cornstarch?

The Country Cook said...

Rockergirl - that is a good question. I have never cooked with Gluten Free Flour so I'm not sure how it would affect this soup. I would say - go with the cornstarch. Add it in, then see how much it thickens. If you want it thicker, make another slurry of the cornstarch and a bit of milk. Add to pot, bring it up to a boil & it should thicken up more for ya. I hope that helps and I hope you both like it! :) ~Brandie

Debydavis52@aol.com said...

You can also Potatoe buds or any instant potatoe flakes to thicken Potatoe Soup. I've been using this trick for years. Debra

Casey Chase said...

Great! I'll try with the cornstarch first. If it doesn't have the effect I want, I'll try the potato buds, as they are OK for a gluten free diet. Thanks for responding so quickly!

Anonymous said...

Hello!
This looks amazing!!!! I can't wait to try it! I do have a question though..... do you think that I could freeze this ahead of making it so its one of those freezer meals? Everything but the half and half part. What do you think?
Jill

Brandie S. said...

Jill, you could definitely freeze this. Just make sure to pack in a good freezer tight bag or container. :)

Elizabeth DeGraff said...

I made this for a ladies group and it was delicious! What a lovely soup! THANK YOU!

Elizabeth DeGraff said...

I made this soup yesterday on our first chilly day in NC. It was my first time using leeks and the soup turned out delicious! My husband and sons really liked the chunky potatoes and of course the bacon! Thank you.

Lindsay Sanford said...

How much soup does this recipe yield?

Brandie Skibinski said...

Yay! That's great Elizabeth! Thank you for coming back to let me know how it turned out!

Brandie Skibinski said...

Lindsay, this should serve about 6-8. :)