Potato and Chowder with Bacon and The Comfort of Tradition
Sometimes, nothing is more comforting than making something you have made a hundred times over. The memories attached the recipe, the instinctual chopping and adding of each ingredient each lend their own feeling of normalcy, ritual and ease. For me, making soup is always grounding. Though I probably make about 30 different kinds of soup, this one never fails to make me feel grounded and nourished. The secret: a crap ton of leeks and a garnish of crispy bits of bacon! My friend, Michael Landsberg from Noisette PK, taught me to make this soup, so it has the added bonus of reminding me of him each time I make it. Whether you make this soup, or another dish that ties you to memories and comfort, take the time to cook for and nourish yourself and those around you. It has never been more important than it is right now.
Michael’s Potato Chowder with Bacon and Thyme
3 oz bacon, diced
4 oz leeks, diced
2 lbs Nicola Gold potatoes, cleaned and diced
3 pts chicken stock
2 oz butter
2 oz flour
1 sprig thyme, leaves removed from stem and chopped
1 cup half-and-half
Salt and pepper
Chives or parsley, chopped, optional
Crispy bits of bacon to garnish, optional
In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon for 2 minutes. Add the onions and sauté until they are translucent, stirring regularly. Add the potatoes and cook for another 2 minutes before adding the stock. Bring the soup to a boil. In a separate saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the flour until it is well combined to make the roux. Once the soup is boiling, reduce to a simmer and add the roux. Simmering will thicken the soup. When the potatoes are nearly tender, add the freshly chopped thyme, half-and-half, salt and pepper. Taste the soup to make sure all of the flavors are balanced and to your liking. Enjoy with freshly chopped chives or parsley or even a little crisp bacon on top to kick it up a notch!