Friday, December 23, 2022

Hearty Bacon Potato Leek Soup

Surviving a Polar Vortex

As I type, the temperature outside is 5 degrees. The wind is over 20 mph with gusts to 30. On days like these natural instinct leads us to seek a filling meal that combines fat with the carbs and protein.

Days like these call for something other than vichyssoise. Something that starts with bacon!


1 slice thick bacon, diced
Two medium leeks (white and light green parts only) sliced in thin half rings
3 or 4 orange size gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
bay leaf
1 clove garlic, minced
chicken broth to cover
1 cup cream
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
grated nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste


Starting with a cold pan, gently cook the bacon to just done. Remove the bacon and set aside.

In the same pan, saute the leeks until they soften without browning them. Add the garlic, bay leaf, and the thyme leaves, and saute for another 2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and several grinds of pepper. Add the chunked potatoes to the pan and fill with broth until the potatoes are not quite covered.

Simmer the potatoes until they are very tender.

Remove the bay leaf. Use a stick blender, a blender, or a food processor to puree the potatoes and leeks. You may need to add a little broth, but do not add any more than you must. Add the Worcestershire sauce, the cream, and the buttermilk. Add the grated nutmeg. Add the bacon back. Stir to blend.

Cook the mixture over low heat while whisking to avoid scorching or clumping. Continue to cook until the mixture thickens and is hot. If the soup becomes too thick, add more stock. You wants a thick but pourable soup. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Garnish with scallion rings, minced parsley or chives, and/or more bacon crumbles.


Saturday, November 12, 2022

Vegetarian Bubble and Squeak


Cabbage and potatoes are mainstays in UK households. Bacon, potatoes, and cabbage have been plentiful (with the exception of one notable period) and not expensive for centuries. Bubble and squeak describes the sound of combining leftover mashed potatoes and leftover boiled cabbage into a patty with bacon crumbles and frying those patties in the bacon fat or butter. The result is very tasty.

Modern American households infrequently boil cabbage and frequently contain vegetarians. This recipe addresses those problems, and can even be adapted to become vegan.*

Recipe for a Modern Vegetarian Bubble and Squeak

(Serves 3 or 4)


2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced, or 4 medium yellow potatoes, skins on and diced (Note: The russets are starchier and hold together better, but I had yellow potatoes and usd them for this photo essay)

10 regular brussels sprouts or five of the giant size, shredded

2 baby bella mushrooms, diced

3/4 stick of butter, divided

splash of milk

1/2 tps. smoked paprika or to taste

salt and pepper to taste


First cut the brussels sprouts in half long ways and remove any disgusting outer leaves. Place a half sprout cut side down and, starting at the top end, slice the sprout in 1/8 inch slices until you feel the root. Repeat for all the sprouts. You should wind up with a large double handful of shreds. The shreds will shrink so cut more than you think you will need.

Dice your mushroom.

Next dice your potatoes and boil them in salty water until a knife easily pierces one of the larger pieces. Drain the potatoes and put them back in the empty pan to allow them to steam out. Add 1/4 stick of butter and the splash of milk. Mash thoroughly and taste. Add salt and pepper as needed. Put in the refrigerator to chill.

While the potatoes cool, melt 1/4 stick of butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat and add the sprouts and mushroom. Stir to combine and leave the mix undisturbed until the mixture barely begins to brown. Stir and then sprinkle with the smoked paprika. The smoked paprika will add a hint of the smoky flavor lost by excluding the bacon.

Continue to saute until the sprouts wilt and the mushrooms soften.  Remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool.

When the potatoes and the sprout mixture are cooled, combine the potatoes with the spouts. Taste and reseason as necessary. Form two large patties and lay them on parchment paper.

Chill the patties to allow them to firm up.

Once the patties have firmed, heat the skillet or griddle to medium.  Melt the remaining butter to prepare a non-stick skillet or a griddle. Use a large spatula to slide the patties into the pan and fry without moving until the bottom is golden brown. Flip the patties quickly as if flipping pancakes and fry the reverse side to brown.

Cut the patties to the serving size desired and garnish with chopped chives.

* Modifications for vegans: Replace the butter with extra virgin olive oil and substitute oat milk for the cow juice.