I made this recipe for the first time last winter and have been craving it for a few months now. But for some reason or another I never got around to making it again until just recently. I know the official start of spring was a mere two days ago, but I just had to squeeze it in.
In some places of the world, winter tends to overstay his welcome. If you happen to live in one of those places where the first day of spring is just another day on the calendar, then you are in luck. This soup is so perfect for a cold, rainy day.
If you live in Mississippi, you may just want to bookmark this one for next year. Because as you know, winter never had a chance to overstay his welcome. January felt like March and now March feels like June. That’s all fine and dandy until June actually arrives and it feels like August and August turns into the pits of hell.
Seriously ya’ll, I am nervous as all-get-out about the mosquitos this summer.
This is a Smitten Kitchen recipe that I added my own unhealthy Southern spin to. And when I say “my own unhealthy Southern-spin,” I mean adding bacon.
- 1 bulb garlic
- 3-4 pieces diced uncooked bacon
- 2 medium leeks white and light green parts halved lengthwise, washed, and chopped small
- 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 cup milk
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Remove any loose skin from the garlic bulb. With a sharp knife, cut off the top third of the bulb. If desired, remove the garlic tips, dice, and save for later.
Cook bacon pieces in a large stockpot over medium heat until brown and crispy. Strain bacon pieces and set aside. Reserve bacon grease in the bottom of the pot.
Add leeks and sauté until soft, but do not allow them to brown, about 5 minutes.
Add minced garlic tips and sauté for an additional minute.
Add broth, bay leaves, and garlic bulb. Bring broth to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 30-40 minutes until the garlic bulb is tender.
Add potatoes and simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes until they the potatoes slide off easily when pricked with the tines of a fork (fork tender).
Strain and discard bay leaves. Remove garlic bulb. For extra garlic flavor, allow bulb to become cool enough to handle, then carefully squeeze out a few individual cloves, mash them with a fork and add them back into the soup.
Process soup using an immersion blender, or transfer cooled soup to a blender and pulse until the soup reaches your desired consistency. If using a standard blender, you may need to add the milk at this stage to allow for adequate blending.
Return blended soup to the pot. Add any remaining milk, sour cream, and if desired cooked bacon bits.
Top individual bowls with shredded cheddar cheese, additional sour cream, bacon bits, or chopped fresh chives.