Cheesy leek and potato soup

Arlene Thompson.  INLT-11-11-10 600-CON
Arlene Thompson. INLT-11-11-10 600-CON

Arlene served up this tasty soup at the Broadisland Gathering cookery demonstration, which celebrated different recipes from our Ulster Scotts heritage.

Made with homegrown potatoes and leeks, flavoured with Dromona mature cheddar and a garnish of crispy bacon and scallions, it is the perfect soup for showcasing our wonderful Northern Irish quality produce.

Potato leek and cheese soup

Serves 6

100g bacon lardons

25g butter

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (optional)

700g all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

freshly ground black pepper

1 bay leaf

2 large leeks (600g), white and part of green sliced

1 small onion, chopped

2 chicken stock cubes

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

100g grated mature cheddar cheese

Chopped chives or scallions for garnish

1. Fry the bacon lardons in a large saucepan until golden and crispy, then drain well and set aside. Discard most of the fat from the bacon but keep a little in the pan. In the same large saucepan, add the butter and melt over a medium heat. Add the leeks and onion. Cook, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic if using and gently cook for another 1-2 minutes.

2. Add potatoes, salt, pepper, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, bay leaf and stock made with 2 stock cubes dissolved in 1.2 litres hot water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, covered, for 35 minutes or until potatoes are very tender.

3. Carefully puree mixture with a blender and pass through a sieve. Return to a clean saucepan and gently reheat and add the cheese, stirring until melted.

4. Garnish with chives, and crispy bacon to serve.

Cook’s Tip: Add 100ml cream for a rich and creamy texture and flavour.