Leeks are one of my favorite things to cook with. They are delicate and mild while still adding wonderful flavor and a silky texture to so many dishes. This recipe really caught my eye because you get the added value of instructions to caramelize the leeks, roast a head of garlic, and maple-glaze bacon. That’s a trifecta of total tastiness!

Creamy Caramelized Leek Soup with Maple-Glazed Bacon

recipe from How Sweet Eats

Ingredients:

  • 6 cleaned and trimmed leeks, about 4 cups, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 bulb roasted garlic*
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2/3 cup half and half
  • green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil for drizzling
  • 4 slices maple-glazed bacon**

Directions:

  1. Make sure the leeks have been trimmed, rinsed thoroughly and patted as dry as they can be with a paper towel.
  2. Heat a large pot over medium-low heat and add the olive oil and butter. Add the leeks, salt, pepper and crushed pepper flakes and toss well to coat. Cook, stirring every few minutes, until the leeks begin to brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Once the leeks are starting to brown, stir in the brown sugar and cook for another 10 minutes until they are super caramelized. Stir in the roasted garlic. Increase the heat slightly to medium and add the wine. Stir to combine, then cook for a few minutes until most of the wine cooks off. Pour in the stock and stir. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat and carefully add the entire mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Pour the pureed soup back in the pot and heat it over low heat. Stir in the half and half, then tasted and add more salt and pepper if desired. Serve the soup with a sprinkle of green onions, a drizzle of olive oil and a handful of crushed maple bacon. Makes 4 servings.

*Roasted Garlic

  • 6 heads of garlic
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Chop off the top portion of the garlic head to reveal cloves. Lightly rub back and forth to remove paper and peel any excess paper off. Pour about a teaspoon of olive oil on top the garlic cloves and let soak for 10 minutes.
  2. Cover with foil and roast in a baking dish for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. To eat or add to recipe: let cool, then squeeze from the bottom of the garlic head to remove caramelized cloves.

**Maple-Glazed Bacon

  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a nonstick wire rack on top. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until bacon is starting to get crispy in parts and the fat is rendered. Remove the bacon from the oven and brush it on both sides with maple syrup. Bake for another 6 to 8 minutes until the bacon is crispy and dark. Remove from the oven and brush with maple syrup once more, then let cool completely. Once cooled, crushed into bits.