Crock Pot Irish Potato Leek Soup

This Irish Potato Leek Soup is not like the usual potato leek soup Americans are used to… very good and certainly hearty… but not the same.  So be warned it’s different.
What makes it different you might ask…. two things.  Most American potato leek soups don’t add cabbage.  And secondly, it is blander.  I do urge you to try it.. you can always adjust the seasonings to your liking.
This soup is made in a crock pot … I was concerned about the long cooking time would make the vegetables mushy… the carrots and potatoes were perfect.. of course the cabbage and onions were soft… so the cooking times should be right on target.
The leeks and onions lose their flavor and the dominant flavor becomes the cabbage… until the bacon goes in.   The bacon is Irish bacon.. not the same as American bacon.  It’s most similar to Canadian bacon or Italian pancetta.  You can use either one to get a soup most closely like the one with Irish bacon.
You can use American bacon in this recipe… the original recipe says to cook and “crumble” the bacon… Canadian bacon would not “crumble”…. with that said… make sure you cut back the amount of bacon if you use American bacon and drain it well on paper towels. 
Pancetta usually already comes diced.. you usually can find it in the gourmet cheese section or by the deli in the supermarket.
I have used American bacon.  I cook it in the oven.. follow the link to get easy instructions on making bacon in the oven.. it’s easy and clean up is a snap.
When I use American bacon.. I use thick sliced smoked bacon… I like the flavors it adds to this soup… it makes it no longer as bland.  I cook it until it’s cooked but still pliable.. then I coarsely chop it.  The packages usually are 12 oz…   and ¾ of the package is about right.. you can adjust the amount to your liking.
You use the white and light green parts of the leek.  The stiff dark green parts can be added in large pieces that can be removed when cooking is done.  It adds flavor but that part is really not edible.
Lastly, while the name of this soup is potato leek soup… the leek is really are not that evident after all the long cooking.. you can add more leeks if you want.  You can add more later in the cooking to remedy that.  Sprinkling a bit of chopped green onion will also add a little subtle flavor to the soup.
Serve with crusty fresh bread.
With St. Patrick’s Day coming up… this soup is perfect to get you in the mood to celebrate the Irish way!

Recipe:  Crock Pot Irish Potato Leek Soup
All you need:
1 container (32 oz) chicken broth
3-4 medium size potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 ½ cups roughly chopped cabbage
1 leek, sliced *see TIPS
1 large onion, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 bay leaf
1 cup sour cream
About ½ pound bacon, cooked and chopped *See TIPS
About ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley to sprinkle
All you need to do:
Place the chicken broth, potatoes, cabbage, leek, carrots, onions, bay leaf, salt and pepper in a crock pot.  Cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 5 hours. 
Fish out the bay leaf.  Ladle about ¾- 1 cup of the broth into a bowl.  Add the sour cream and stir until smooth.  Add that back into the crock pot.  Add the cooked chopped bacon.  Stir well.  Allow to cook on low for about 30 minutes.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste if necessary.
Ladle into bowls and sprinkle the parsley over the top.

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