As the days are slowly getting shorter and the temperature dips lower, I find myself craving more and more comfort food. Nothing quite warms my tummy (and heart) like creamy soup and a chunk of crusty bread. This is one of my most cherished things about the cold weather ahead: wool socks, rosy cheeks, and friends or family all cozied up slurping a hot bowl of soup together. Here is one of my favourite recipes to make while everything around us turns into a winter wonderland…and it is comfort food at it’s best!
This soup recipe is a serious ‘Canuck’ specialty featuring loads of local peameal (Canadian) bacon, so you know it’s sure to satisfy the lumberjack in your life. At the same time it is beautifully silky and perfect to serve to a crowd, or to bring to your next pot-luck holiday party. To simplify things this recipe calls for your slow cooker instead of the usual stove top preparation. Just prep and load in the ingredients in the morning, and you have a beautiful hot fresh soup by dinner time.
To really ramp up the comfort-food factor in this dish I have included fresh cream, but was mindful to balance it out with the addition of evaporated milk. This skips on some of the fat, so that you can add lots more of the savory bacon chunks! Good trade in right?! If you prefer this soup to be really smooth blend all of the ingredients together without reserving the potato as described in the recipe below. Alternatively, if you enjoy a rustic soup or just want to simplify the recipe some more you can skip the blending process all-together.
I serve this soup buffet style with a selection of fresh baked breads and local cheese, and offer extra peameal chunks and thyme leaves for garnish.
Hope you have a cozy holiday!
- 1/2 lb (227 g) cooked and diced Ontario peameal bacon
- 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) roughly chopped leeks (white and light green parts only)
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups (750 mL) peeled and diced boiling potatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 sprig of fresh thyme
- 1/4 tsp (1 mL) sea salt
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) black pepper
- 6 cups (1.5 L) low sodium chicken stock
- 1 cup (250 mL) half-and-half cream
- 1 can (12 oz/370 mL) condensed mil
- Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks, onion, and garlic and cook stirring constantly until leeks and onions are translucent, about 4 minutes.
- In slow cooker combine leek mixture, potatoes, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir in chicken stock. Cover and cook on low setting for 6 hours.
- Remove bay leaves and thyme sprig.
- Spoon out 1 cup (250 mL) of potato chunks and set aside.
- Use an immersion blender to puree soup until smooth.
- Stir in reserved potato chunks, cream, condensed milk and peameal bacon.