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Potato-Leek Soup with Bacon
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 1/2 cups cubed crusty bread
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- 2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups frozen peas (do not thaw)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Make the croutons: Melt 1 tablespoon butter, then mix with the paprika in a bowl. Add the bread cubes and toss. Spread on a baking sheet and bake until golden, 8 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large saucepan over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Discard all but about 1 tablespoon fat from the pan. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, then add the leeks and garlic; cover and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, 2 cups water, the potatoes and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper; cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
Puree half the soup in a blender (remove the filler cap to let steam escape), then return to the pot. Add the cream and bring to a simmer. Add the peas and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with the croutons, bacon and parsley.