Potato-bacon soup

January 23, 2008

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Serves 8

1 bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh parsley
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup water
2 medium onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
6 strips good-quality bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 quarts chicken stock
5 large russet or baking potatoes (about 3 1/2 pounds), peeled and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons chopped chives or 2 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled (for garnish)

1. Wrap the bay leaf, thyme, and parsley in a piece of cheesecloth. Tie it with butcher's string.

2. In a soup pot, combine the butter, water, onions, garlic, and bacon. Set it over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes or until the onions soften and the bacon fat is mostly rendered.

3. Spoon off excess fat. Add the chicken stock, potatoes, salt, pepper, and herb bundle. Turn up the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for about 35 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Cool slightly. Discard the herb bundle.

4. Using an immersion blender, food processor, or blender, puree the soup.

5. Before serving, stir in the cream and reheat the soup until very hot. Taste for seasoning, add salt, if you like. Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with chives or bacon. - Adapted from Evoo restaurant