Elements of Food, Elements of Home

Yummy Potato Leek and Cheddar Soup

Last night my husband and I had a dual kitchen cook-off. He was busy making a wonderful veggie lasagna for the week, and I was in the process of making this phenomenal Potato, Leek and Cheddar soup for dinner! It was perfect for a chilly fall night. We had the first Pinot Noir (Louis Jadot, one of our favorites) of the season and a spinach salad on the side. I doubled the recipe below to make sure we had lots of leftovers for the rest of the week. Enjoy!


  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 1 Leek, white part only, sliced thin. I found that my salad spinner is an excellent way to wash leeks. Fill the salad spinner with water, add the leeks, slowly spin the leeks around, and drain. Spin again to dry.
  • 3 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 3 cups of milk (I used 2%…still healthier than cream!)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded



  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings from the pan and return to medium heat
  • Add the leek and saute until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the cubed potatoes and the broth and stir. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low. Cook covered until the potatoes are tender. About 15-20 minutes.
  • Raise the heat to medium and add the milk and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and bring to a simmer.
  • Remove from heat. I use an immersion blender to puree the soup directly in the pot. If you don’t have an immersion blender, go buy one! But until then, you can also puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor. MAKE SURE you don’t fill the blender more than 1/2 full. You will have a huge mess all over your kitchen.
  • Return the soup to the stove and reheat to serving temperature. Add in the cheddar cheese and stir until melted and combined.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and top with crumbled bacon. Enjoy!


Potato, Leek and Cheddar Soup
Potato, Leek and Cheddar Soup

Recipe courtesy of Soup, Food Made Fast – Williams Sonoma

Elements of Food, Elements of Home, Favorite Things

Smoky Corn Chowder on 95 Degree Day…Good Idea…

I’m not quite sure what I was thinking…it was 95 degrees outside and for some reason, I wanted to make a soup for dinner. Maybe it’s because it’s easy and filling…but then I probably should have served inside the air conditioned house as opposed to the steamy front porch. Anyway…Here’s the recipe. It’s delightful. I served it with a warm (again, bad idea) baguette and herb goat cheese spread. The smoked paprika is what really makes this corn chowder fantastic…I recommend buying it if you don’t have it, it will soon become one of your favorite spices to use. For a little twist to this recipe, add some shredded chicken breast.

Recipe: Real Simple Cookbook (with a couple tiny additional notes/changes)


  • 8 ounces sliced bacon
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (I used red pepper flakes…works just fine)
  • 2 10-ounce packages frozen corn
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup half and half or whole milk
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced


  1. Cook the bacon in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
  2. Spoon off and discard all but 2 tablespoons of the drippings. (I found there wasn’t much more than this in the pan anyway) Return the pan to medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, paprika, and red pepper and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in the corn, broth, and half-and-half and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Using an immersion blender, puree the corn mixture in the pot. Or, transfer half the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Return to the pot and stir in ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
  6. Divide the soup among bowls and top with the scallions and chopped bacon.