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Potato Leek Soup with Leek Top Pesto

This hearty Potato Leek Soup made with Yukon Gold potatoes, leeks, kale, and fresh mozzarella cheese is a deliciously satisfying pick-me-up.  Remix the leek tops into pesto and you will elevate this warm snack into a well-rounded lunch or dinner.

Finally, for festive flair make shamrock-shaped crostinis!  This year’s St. Patty’s day guests will feel like they found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow

Prep Time: 25 Minutes

Cook Time: 45 Minutes

Yield: about 12 cups

Serves: 8 – 10

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Ingredients

Soup:

  • ¼ pound thick-cut bacon
  • 4 large leeks (about 5 cups), white and light green parts only, rough chopped
  • 1 large white onion, rough chopped
  • 4 cups of kale, stems removed, roughly chopped and washed
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 8 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups Frigo® Fresh Mozzarella, shredded

Optional Garnish:

  • fresh thyme, bacon crumbles, leek pesto, sour cream, grated mozzarella cheese
  • Leek Top Pesto, recipe below

Directions

Cook the bacon in a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat until brown and crispy.  Remove bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Reduce heat to medium add the leeks, onion, kale, and garlic to the bacon grease and sauté, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Adjust the heat as necessary so as not to brown.

Stir in the potatoes, vegetable broth, bay leaves, thyme, salt, and black pepper to the pot and bring to a boil. Cover and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are very tender.

Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Purée the soup with a hand-held immersion blender or transfer to a blender and carefully blend until very smooth. 

Once the soup is smooth, add the heavy cream and Frigo® Fresh Mozzarella and bring the soup back to a simmer and cook until the cheese is melted and stirred into the mixture.  Taste and adjust the salt and pepper. Check consistency, if the soup is too thin, simmer a while longer until thickened. If the soup is too thick, add stock to thin it out. 

Garnish with crumbled bacon and fresh thyme, if desired.

Or, serve with Leek Top Pesto Crostini, recipe below.

Rad Tip:  Freeze the soup easily, without the cream, for up to 3 months. Defrost the soup in the refrigerator for 12 hours and then reheat it on the stovetop over medium heat until hot. Once heated, add the cream and bring to a simmer before serving.

Leek Top Pesto:

Ingredients:
1 large baguette
1/4 cup olive oil, for drizzling
1 (5-ounce) wedge Frigo® Aged Parmesan, grated
2 bunches (about 4 cups) darker green leek tops, sliced
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
½ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted, or substitute chopped walnuts
¾ cup aged parmesan cheese, grated
1 lemon, juiced
¼ – ½ cup olive oil, for pesto
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a slip pat mat.

Slice the baguette into ⅓-inch thick slices. Place slices on the lined baking sheet. Lightly drizzle baguette slices with olive oil. Bake for 5-8 minutes until slices are warm and crisp.

Meanwhile, boil a large saucepot with water and add cleaned sliced leek green. Cook for 5 minutes until the leeks are soft and tender. Drain, pat dry, and set aside.

In the food processor fitted with a blade, pulse the garlic. Add toasted pine nuts and pulse until combined. Add grated Frigo® Aged Parmesan, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Pulse until combined. Slowly pour olive oil over mixture while the food processor is in motion. Continue to add olive oil until mix until the pesto is smooth.

Spread leek pesto onto warm baguette slices. Finish with shaved parmesan cheese and serve!

Rad Remix: Give this dish a festive flair by cutting shamrock-shaped crostinis out of sourdough slices using cookie cutters and top with the Leek Top Pesto.

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