Friday, April 25, 2014

Potato, Ham, & Leek Soup with Bacon Pangrattato

It’s been quite a night.  I’m working on precious little sleep.  Trying to get as much done before I need to rush to the airport in a couple of hours.  Yet, I am deliriously buoyed and driven forward by the relief that little C is ok, and that powerful cocktail of adrenaline, caffeine, and Berocca that is coursing through my veins right now.

Last night little C had a bout of stomach upset that caused her to vomit repeatedly from early evening onwards.  By bedtime she was beat, but still vomiting and complaining of an “owwie in my tummy”.  We rushed her to the hospital and didn’t return until the sun was back up.

Sitting there, watching as she weakly fought against her first IV (something I didn’t have to experience until I gave birth to her), her pink-nailpolished little fingers taped to a splint, her deep sleep of total exhaustion, her raggedy toenails peeping out of the covers…how helpless I felt.

The IV did its work though, thankfully, and even as we were being discharged she was already tentatively asking for chocolate milk (a treat she knows is not for everyday), making sure to have me check with the doctor if it was ok. 

Now, she is almost back to her old self, and C and I are breathing easier…and very grateful.

As I mentioned above, I need to be off to the airport two seconds ago.  A trip to one of my favorite cities in the world, for a work conference.  So if you have any recommendations for anything new to eat in Barcelona…please let me know!

Meanwhile, I leave you with a comforting bowl of soup.

Potato, Ham, & Leek Soup with Bacon Pangrattato
  • Olive oil
  • 1 white onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 5-6 leeks (these are the slimmer Asian leeks, not the huge Western variety), white and light green parts, sliced; dark green parts, sliced thinly
  • 200 grams ham, cubed
  • 3 large potatoes (about 700-750 grams total weight), peeled and cut into chunks 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (if you have fresh even better!)
  • Water to cover by about 1-2 inches (about 4 cups)
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • About 4 slices old bread (depending on the size of your slices)
  • 3 strips of bacon, chopped

- Heat a pot over medium high heat.  When hot, add a couple of generous swirls of olive oil.  Add the onions, garlic, and leeks.  Sauté, stirring, until the onions are soft and translucent, taking care not to let anything brown.
- Add the ham to the pot and stir, getting it all covered in the oniony juices.  Add the potatoes, thyme, and cover with the water.  Simmer until the potatoes are soft.  Take off the heat and leave to cool slightly.
- While the potatoes are cooking, get on with your pangrattato.  Take your old bread (I like keeping random slices and ends or bread in the freezer – this is a great way to save old bread) and toast until crisp then chop as chunkily or as tiny as you like.  In a hot pan, fry the chopped bacon until crisp.  Add your toasted breadcrumbs to this and fry until both bacon and crumbs are golden brown.  Set aside.  Wipe pan down and return to the heat.  Add some olive oil and, when hot, and the sliced dark green parts of the leeks.  Fry this until slightly toasty in parts but still bright green.  Remove to a paper towel and set aside.
- When the soup is slightly cooled (you don’t want piping hot soup spattered all over your kitchen!) use an immersion blender to process until smooth (or you can transfer to a regular blender).  Place the pot back on the heat, add the cream, and heat through.  Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as you see fit.  You may not need it if your ham is very salty.  If the soup is too thick, add some water.  If it’s too thin, cook for a bit longer.
- Serve the soup topped with the bacon pangrattato and fried leeks.

Even as there is much a mother cannot control, we do what we can to make things better.  And soup is one of those things some of us do.  I still remember being comforted by my mom’s soups.  And I hope to be able to share the same with my children.  And with you too.

Wishing you a good and restful weekend!  I’ll see you when I get back!


Betty Ann @Mango_Queen said...

Oh so sorry to hear your little one was not well. But glad she's ok now. Have fun on your trip, even if it's sort of a working vacay. Safe travels and post lots of pics, J!

Isabella Popper said...

Looks amazing!

Jeff @ said...

I'm glad that little C is ok now. This is the best bowl of soup that I've in a while.