Baked Potato and Leek Soup with Cheddar and Bacon
- 2 medium russet potatoes (1/2 lb. each)
- 4 tbsps unsalted butter
- 2 medium leeks (white and light-green parts), sliced and rinsed well
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups chicken broth (low salt)
- 4 thick slices of bacon, cut into 1/2 inch dice
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
- 2 tbsps thinly sliced scallions or chives
Baked Potato: Heat oven to 376 degrees. Scrub potatoes and pat dry. Pirece several times with a fork. Set the directly on the oven rack and bake until very tender, about 1 hour. Let cool completely on a rack.
Melt butter in a soup pot over medium-low heat. Add leeks and garlic, season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add broth and 2 cups water. Simmer until the leeks are very tender, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the bacon over medium heat, until brown and crisp. Transfer to paper towel to drain.
Cut one of the cooled potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop flesh out in one piece from each half. Cut the flesh into 1/2 inch cubes and set aside. Coarsely chop the potato skin and the entire remaining potato, and add to the pot with the leeks.
Puree the contents of the pot in batches until very smooth. Return the soup to a clean pot and reheat over medium low heat. Whisk together the milk and sour cream and then whisk into soup along with 1/2 cup of the Cheddar. Stir in the diced potato. Season with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with remaining Cheddar, bacon bits, and the scallions or chives.