Today’s Gardener’s Kitchen Recipe Is Leek, Bacon & Cheese Soup with Winter Grown Outdoor Coriander. A Delicious Dish For A Cold Winters Day. Here’s How To Cook It.
Leeks are one of the mainstays in my winter garden. They need a long growing season but that’s the only downside as they are relatively easy to grow. There’s more on leek growing if you follow this link plus there’s a post on the main leek pest of recent years, Allium Leaf Miner. Here’s one of my favourite leeks recipes; Leek, Bacon & Cheese Soup.
The coriander is an interesting twist to this dish. I find the supermarket coriander insipid. The pot grower coriander is grown in greenhouses where getting it into the supermarkets is a key consideration. It’s a world where fast turnover and profit predominates. Slower grown crops have time to develop much more flavour and the intensity of the winter grown crop is intense.
Gardeners are often surprised that coriander survives and even grows in winter. But provided it is germinated before the cold weather starts it is a very hardy crop. Especially if given just a bit of protection from the wind. The coriander in the image was module grown and planted under a fleece cage in October. It has suffered several frosts and was actually frozen solid when I harvested it. I tend to gather all the leaves from a module in my hand and cut the leaves a couple of inches above ground level. This leaves the plant to continue growing and gives multiple harvests right through the winter.
The Gardener’s Kitchen Recipes: Leek, Bacon & Cheese Soup Recipe
The way make this is low cost. I don’t boil the leeks in water for ages as that uses a lot of gas and I’m now very energy conscious.
I’m not recommending quantities of each ingredient. I don’t measure anything when making soup. I do it by eye and taste . I’m sure you can do the same.
Start by washing the leeks, chop into short lengths, place in container and microwave until soft.
Add hot water and blend / blitz until smooth.
Meanwhile fry some chopped bacon or lardons until crispy. Add to the leeks and stir to mix. Season to taste.
This mix can now be cooled and kept a few days if you wish. Or you can move straight on the the next step.
Cut cheese in to small cubes (I use cheddar but choose whatever you prefer …. a blue cheese is wonderful). Heat the soup to serving temperature, add the cheese cubes and stir. The cheese then softens and slightly cooks in the soup. It’s reminiscent of a fondue cheese and is deliciously stringy when you get it right.
Eat with bread if you wish.
There are many variations to this recipe. For example some people like to add yogurt to make it creamier. Others add croutons to give it a crunch. Personally I prefer it with cheddar, coriander and a thick slice of bread and butter. Delicious.
Other alternatives are to add Szechuan pepper, cardamon or a spice of your choice.
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