Potato Leek Soup with Poblanos and Crispy Bacon
4 1/2 quarts
Potato Leek is one of my favorite soups and I’m always looking for new ways to change up the flavor profile. This version uses poblano chiles and bacon. The poblanos give this soup a little kick and I've used the bacon two ways. First, I rendered the bacon to use as a garnish. Then, I used the bacon fat to saute the vegetables. If you're looking for a more substantial soup, try adding some grilled chicken breast, sliced thin or shred a rotisserie chicken from the grocery. This soup comes together very quickly and freezes well.
2 large poblano chiles
4 to 8 slices thick-sliced bacon, diced
4 cups (about 2 pounds) 1/2" thick sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only)
1 large white onion, diced
3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
3 large garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half
2 1/2 quarts chicken broth
1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
Optional: 2 large grilled boneless chicken breasts, thinly sliced or shredded rotisserie chicken
Roast the poblano over an open flame or 4 inches below a broiler, turning regularly until blistered and blackened all over, about 5 minutes for an open flame, about 10 minutes for a broiler. Cover with a kitchen towel. Let cool until handleable. Rub the blackened skin off the chiles and pull out the stem and seed pod. Cut into a small dice and set aside.
Scoop the bacon into a large stockpot set over medium-high heat and cook until the bacon pieces are crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove them from the pot and place on a paper towel lined plate to cool. You should have about 2 tablespoons of bacon fat left in the pot. If you have more than that, remove it. Scoop in the leeks and onions and continue cooking until the vegetables become soft. Add the potatoes, garlic, stock and thyme, bring it back to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and cook for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are completely soft.
You can use either a countertop blender or an immersion blender. If you're using a countertop blender, you'll need to puree the soup in batches, taking care not to overfill your blender jar. Return the soup back to the pot and add the diced poblano. Bring the soup back to a simmer and cook for 5 more minutes so that all the flavors meld. Taste and season with salt, usually about 2 tablespoons. Top each bowl of soup with some of the crispy bacon and the chicken pieces, if you're using them..
NOTE: Make sure to wash your leeks well before using to get rid of any dirt that might be between the layers.