8 slices bacon, chopped
4 leeks, green parts removed and discarded, white parts chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
8 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed from stems
1 tablespoon paprika, plus additional for garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 pounds Russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 quarts chicken stock
A dash of hot sauce (optional)
1 cup shredded New York-style cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Scallions, for garnish
Sour cream, for garnish (optional)
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until golden brown. Remove the cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and reserve.
Add the leeks and garlic to the bacon fat and cook until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add in the thyme, paprika, some salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Add the potatoes and stock to the pot and bring up to a bubble. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer the potatoes until cooked through, about 8-10 minutes. When the potatoes are tender, puree the soup until smooth using a blender, food processor or immersion blender.
Adjust the seasonings as needed with salt, freshly ground black pepper and hot sauce, if desired. Serve the soup in a bowl or mug topped with some of the two cheeses, reserved bacon, a sprinkling of scallions, a dollop of sour cream and a dash of paprika. This is one of many "Yum-o!" recipes – it's good and good for you. To find out more about Yum-o!, Rachael's nonprofit organization, go to www.yum-o.org.