A Recipe: Potato Leek Soup with Dill

Potato Leek Soup, dotted with dill and pasture-raised bacon, may seem like an odd addition to a June post.  I mean, really now, summer’s less than a week away – and I imagine all of you sipping away at icy tomato gazpachos and spooning sweet cherry sorbet into your mouths.  It’s hot.  It’s humid and the night air is sultry and warm where you are, isn’t it?  Don’t lie to me now – I know it’s true.  While you’re lounging by the grill, sending your kids to run naked through the sprinklers and collect raspberries on tall, leafy canes, I’m shivering and considering turning out the heat though it’s the middle of June dammitall.  And the opening day of the little farmers market my husband and I manage was greeted by schizophrenic weather that oscillated violently between icy rain, warm sunshine and brief bouts of snow that turned into longer bouts of hail.  It takes a certain ruggedness to live where I do  and for the rest of you, I sure hope you’re enjoying that hot weather of yours – really.

So this post, you see, isn’t for you. Go enjoy your summery foods – your blackberry sorbets, your cucumber salads and your icy cold teas.  This post is for those of you with cold toes, with snowy, sleety landscapes – those of you who live in the high country like me and those of you who dwell in that other place where seasons are upside down – the Southern Hemisphere.

You’ll find while potatoes and leeks comprise the base for this classic soup, it truly is the pasture-raised bacon that outshines them all with its smoky, saltiness.  Bacon and bacon fat, a feature in many of the recipes at Nourished Kitchen, is unfairly treated.  It’s unhealthy, right?  It’ll clog your arteries, right?  It’ll give you heart disease, right?  Not so fast.  It’s easy to demonize a food, and bacon and pork fat have shouldered an unfair burden.  The problems stemming from the use of bacon don’t center on the food itself, but, as is often the case, how it’s produced.  The practices of raising hogs on industrial farms is brutal, inhumane and gives rise to sick animals.  Sick animals produce sick meat.  Likewise, healthy animals produce healthy meats and pork, with it’s vitamin-rich fat, has played an important role in traditional, preindustrial cuisines around the world from Europe to Asia, Asia to South America.  When hogs are raised properly, with access to sunshine and plenty of room to root around, their meat and fat becomes dense in wholesome nutrients – particularly vitamin D and monounsaturated fat (the same healthy fat found in avocado and olive oil).  You can find good quality pasture-raised bacon from local ranches and farmers markets.  So relish the bacon in this dish and its beautiful, characteristic seasoning it provides to the soup – it’s good for you.

potato leek soup with bacon and fresh dill

By Jenny Published: June 15, 2010

  • Yield: About 8 servings
  • Prep: Approximately 45 minutes min

Potato leek soup truly satisfies and nourishes on those rainy, cold and wet days of autumn and winter (and spring and summer if you live where I live). I love the way the smoky, salty bacon pairs with the gentle and subtle flavors of potato and milk while the fragrant aroma of fresh dill brings it all together with a touch of greenery. So for those of you too busy enjoying your lemonades to appreciate a good potato leek soup recipe in the middle of June – just you wait. When the sunshine wanes and the weather goes awry in your neck of the woods, you’ll be back. I promise.

Ingredients

  • 4 oz pasture-raised bacon (fried and crumbled with fat reserved)
  • 4 leeks (rinsed well with white and light green parts sliced very thinly)
  • 1 lb waxy potatoes (scrubbed well and cubed)
  • 1 quart fresh chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves (preferably fresh though dried will do)
  • 2 cups fresh whole milk
  • 1 bunch fresh dill (chopped fine)
  • unrefined sea salt and freshly ground white pepper (to taste)
  • crème fraîche or sour cream (to serve)

Instructions

  1. In a heavy-bottomed soup pot, heat reserved bacon fat over a medium flame until melted and sizzling.
  2. Add the thinly sliced leeks to the melted bacon fat and fry until they begin to soften and release their aroma – about five to six minutes or so.
  3. Add one quart fresh chicken broth to the leeks and dump in the cubed potatoes and cover the pot.
  4. Cook the potatoes, leeks and broth together over a medium-low flame until the potatoes are softened and tenderly fall apart when pressed with the tines of a fork – about thirty minutes.
  5. Remove the soup from the flame and allow it to cool slightly, then pour two cups fresh whole milk into the soup pot, stirring in the fresh dill as you go.
  6. Season with unrefined sea salt and white pepper as it suits you, then serve the soup with plenty of good quality pasture-raised bacon and a dollop of crème fraîche or sour cream.

Don’t Miss a Thing!

Inspired Real Food Recipes
Delivered to Your Inbox

What people are saying

    • Ilene says

      Nothing is as good as fresh whole milk but alas I cant have it so coconut milk or almond milk would prolly work as well. I’m going to try it with almond milk.

  1. Kimber says

    Primal,

    In my house, whenever there’s chicken noodle soup being served, there’s always a bowl of coconut milk and a shaker of spicy, cajun seasoning on the table. I can attest that coconut milk tastes GREAT in soup. :-)

    Even my youngest, at 3, loves it!

  2. Nury says

    I love potato leek soup, I should try it this way it looks and sounds delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

  3. says

    No judging here — I made a similar potato leek soup recipe this past weekend! (Also quite chilly here.) Can’t wait to try your version!!

  4. Kylie NZ says

    This looks delicious! I am all for soups at the moment. Being smack bang in the middle of winter here in little New Zealand. I have been enjoying kumera soup (sweet potato), garlic soup, black bean soup.. and this one is next! Thanks Kim

  5. says

    jenny-
    this looks fabulous to me! Upstate NY is schizo this time of year. Earlier in the week it was 50, then it was hot and muggy. This afternoon it rained in buckets and now it’s chilly again. Right about now I’d like to take a bath in that bowl of soup…
    have a groovy night!
    Liz

  6. LEM says

    This is the first recipe I have ever completely ruined. It was partially my fault because I went against my own “cooking intuition” and partially the recipe’s fault for not being more clear with ingredients. When I saw “bunch of fresh dill,” I thought that sounded like a lot because my grocery store sells it in bunches that are as long and wide as my forearm; however, I am a big fan of this blog, so my second thought was to trust the recipe as is. Unfortunately, there was no going back when I put all of the dill in my Vitamix along with the soup. (I ended up with dill soup!!)

    Thus, could someone please tell me EXACTLY how much dill they used? –And how much constitutes “a bunch”?

    I was so looking forward to eating this and am so bummed about the wasted ingredients.

  7. Kathy says

    This soup was a huge hit!! Ran out of milk – so ended up substituting 1 cup cream for the 2 cups of milk (but it was raw cream from our local farmer – so it’s good for us!!) Didn’t have any dill. But loved it with a dollop of sour cream and the bacon was the best! Thanks for the great recipe!

  8. M says

    I made this recipe for dinner tonight and it was excellent. I did not have fresh dill on hand so I substituted about 2-3 tbsp dried dill. I’m sure it will be even better tomorrow after the dried dill has incorporated itself thoroughly. Thanks so much!

  9. Ashley says

    I’m assuming the bay leaves go in with the chicken stock? And is this a puréed soup? I’ve never had a chunky potato leek soup before…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>