This creamy potato soup with crispy pancetta takes just 45 minutes and will chase off the mid-winter blues. It’s like a big warm hug in a bowl.
Last weekend, after moping around for several days victimized by what I like to call my mid-winter blah syndrome, I chopped up some leeks, carrots, and potatoes bound and determined to snap my crabby self out of the funkiest of funks.
The mid-winter blahs are the worst.
If I’ve learned anything over the years it’s that soup is the best cure for my cold weather blues. Or, more specifically, making soup. A quick flick of the wrist to light the stove, the satisfying chop, chop, chop of my knife against the cutting board, and the sizzle of the veggies as they meet the hot fat is more powerful than any pharmaceutical in clearing the gray fog from my mind. The cure is quick and, as was the case last Saturday, by the time the potatoes softened in the bubbling broth I felt brighter and lighter. My outlook changed.
This, too, shall pass.
And pass it did – both the frigid weather and my moody blues funk. I’m not sure soup therapy has been validated in clinical studies so I can’t promise that making a batch of this creamy potato soup will cure all your woes. What I can promise is that it will warm you up on the coldest of days, which I’m sure we’ll have a few more of before Spring makes an appearance.
15 minPrep Time
30 minCook Time
45 minTotal Time
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 ounces diced pancetta
- 1 large leek (tough green tops removed), cleaned and roughly chopped
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into thin coins
- 2 cloves of garlic. roughly chopped
- 3 russet potatoes peeled and cut into small chunks
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish
- 32 ounces of chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 cup 2% milk, plus 2 tablespoons
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Juice from a 1/8 of a lemon (about 1 teaspoon)
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a stock pot. Add the diced pancetta and cook it until it releases it's fat and turns crispy. Using a slotted spoon carefully remove it from the fat and leave it to drain on a plate lined with a paper towel.
- Add the chopped leek, carrots, and garlic to the pot. Stir the vegetables around in the fat, reducing the heat if, necessary, to prevent them from browning too fast. Cook them until they start to soften, about five minutes or so. Add the potatoes and 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley and stir it all together.
- Add the chicken stock to the pot and increase the heat until the liquid starts to bubble. Scrape up any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Reduce the heat until the soup is simmering gently.
- After about ten minutes, check that the potatoes are tender using a fork (there should be no resistance when you give the potato a poke). If not ready, let the pot simmer another few minutes and try again.
- Once the potatoes are tender, puree the soup until it's smooth and creamy. An immersion blender (or stick blender) is easiest, but ladling the soup into a stand blender works well, too. For the latter, just be sure to let the soup cool before giving it a whirr otherwise it might cause a mess. (see notes)
- In a small bowl, combine the flour and 2 tablespoons of milk until smooth. Add it to the soup pot and, as the soup thickens, stir in the remaining 1 cup of milk and the 1/4 cup of heavy cream.
- Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper to the soup. Give it a taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed.
- Ladle the soup into bowls. Place a generous 2 tablespoons of grated cheese in the center and top it off with some of the crispy diced pancetta and fresh parsley.
If you use a stand blender to puree the soup you will need to reheat the soup before moving to the next step. Just pour it back to the pot and warm it over medium heat until it barely starts to simmer. Next, go to Amazon and order a stick/immersion blender. It will change your soup-making life!