4 leeks (white part only), rinsed and thinly sliced
4 slices pepper bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium-size sweet onion (such as Walla Walla, Texas Sweet, or Mayan), sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 pounds unpeeled Yukon gold potatoes, rinsed and diced*
2 cups water, approximate
2 cups heavy cream
Freshly-squeezed lemon juice to taste
Coarse salt and freshly-ground peppercorns to taste
Chili oil for garnish
Chopped chives for garnish
* New red potatoes may be substituted.
Trim and clean leeks. Thinly slice the white portion.
Cut and clean leeks - You need to thoroughly clean a leek because dirt can become trapped in its many layers. Trim the root portion right above the base (cutting too far up the stalk will remove the part that holds the layers together. Slice off the fibrous green tops, leaving only the white-to-light green stalk. Discard greens. Cut the leek in half lengthwise, then cut according to your recipe (slice, chop or dice).
In a large soup pot over medium heat, saute the bacon until crisp. Remove cooked bacon from pot and let drain on paper towels; set aside.
Pour the bacon grease out of the soup pot; discard. Put the butter into the pot and, when it is melted, add the onion, leeks, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft and translucent. Stir in the diced potatoes and cover with the water (adding more water if necessary to cover). Cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a for. Remove from heat.
In a food processor or blender, puree half of the potato mixture; then stir the puree back into the other potatoes.
NOTE: The soup can be made 1 to 2 days in advance up until this stage. Refrigerate until ready to finish.
When ready to serve, reheat the soup mixture. Stir in the heavy cream and season to taste with fresh lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
To serve, ladle into warmed soup bowls. Garnish with chili oil, chopped chives, and bacon pieces.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.