Smoky Potato Soup with Bacon Croutons
- TOTAL TIME: 45 MIN
- SERVINGS: 4
This ultrasmooth potato soup gets a smoky kick from bacon puree, a homemade riff on the Italian pork-fat delicacy lardo.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/3 inch thick
- 6 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper
- 4 ounces fatty slab bacon, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- Eight 1/3-inch-thick baguette slices
- Preheat the oven to 375°. In a saucepan, melt the butter. Add the shallots and cook over low heat, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the potatoes and stock and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender. Return the soup to the saucepan, add the cream and season with salt and white pepper; keep hot.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, cover the bacon with 1/2 inch of water. Simmer over low heat until very tender, about 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a mini food processor. Add the garlic and puree until smooth.
- Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet and spread with half of the bacon puree. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until lightly browned and crisp. Ladle the soup into bowls and stir 1 generous tablespoon of bacon puree into each bowl. Serve at once with the croutons.
This smoky soup pairs well with a rich, nicely acidic white like a Pinot Gris, the signature white grape of Oregon's Willamette Valley.