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Dairy-Free Potato-Leek Soup

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Updated March 03, 2008

Potato-leek soup is traditionally made with heavy cream and milk or buttermilk. But you can build an incredibly rich soup by taking advantage of the starchy quality of potatoes themselves; after blending, the potato starch combines with a small amount of dairy-free milk to create an incredibly rich mouth feel. I've replaced the traditional butter with bacon -- a common flavor partner for leeks -- but have provided vegetarian alternatives that will work just as well. Not a quick dish but a filling and popular one.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 pieces bacon, divided, or 6 T olive oil or dairy-free margarine, divided
  • 4-5 medium leeks, scrubbed and trimmed, white parts only, in 1-inch pieces (about 2 c)
  • 8 medium white potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 3-4 c)
  • 4 c chicken or vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 c unsweetened dairy-free milk (rice milk, hemp milk, soy milk, etc.), or more if necessary
  • finely chopped chives for garnish (optional)

Preparation:

  • In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, cook 3 pieces bacon over medium heat until all fat is rendered and bacon is cooked. Remove bacon and set aside. (If not using bacon, heat 3 T oil or margarine over medium heat until quite hot.) Turn heat to low and add leeks. Cover and cook leeks slowly, stirring every few minutes, until leeks are soft and have let out a large quantity of liquid, about 30 minutes. Remove leeks and set aside.
  • Wipe pot and cook 3 more pieces of bacon until fat is rendered and bacon is cooked. Remove bacon and set aside. (Again, if not using bacon, heat 3 T oil or margarine over medium heat until quite hot.) Cook potato cubes over medium until light brown, about five to seven minutes.
  • Add leeks, bacon, broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer until potatoes are fork-tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.
  • If you have a stick blender, blend soup until mostly blended (some chunks can and should still remain). Otherwise, remove soup to a blender and pulse several times on a low setting until most chunks are blended. Return soup to stockpot over low heat and stir in 1/2 c dairy-free milk, or more if necessary to bring soup to a spoonable consistency. Heat until soup reaches boiling again. Serve immediately, optionally garnished with chives.

Serves four to six.

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