Mushroom Bacon and Leek Pottage with Gruyere and Thickened with Sour Dough Bread
This is really nourishing comfort food. I've called it a pottage to indicate it is really rather more substantial than soup; with the addition of gruyere cheese and sour dough bread for thickening, it's a warm, hearty and sustaining hug to help with the trials of Winter.
6 rashers of smoked bacon
2 red onions, finely sliced
4 cloves garlic
1 fat leek, quartered lengthways and chopped
300g mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 litre chicken stock
2 fresh bay leaves
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
Salt and pepper
200g sourdough bread, broken into chunks
70g gruyere cheese, grated
You will need an oven-proof lidded casserole pot
Oven 180c, 160c fan
Using scissors, snip the bacon rashers into small pieces and fry to light golden brown. Set aside in the casserole pot which should be in a warm place if possible.
Add a little drop of oil to the unwashed bacon pan, add the sliced onions and fry gently until soft. Grate in the garlic and add the chopped leek and cook until the leek is just cooked. Add to the casserole pot.
Using the same pan again, add the mushrooms, cook briskly for a minute or two then add the chicken stock and herbs. Bring up to simmering then pour the mushroomy stock into the casserole pot with the onions and bacon.
Add the pieces of sour dough bread and dunk them below the surface of the stock so that they become saturated.
Stir in the grated gruyere cheese. Taste and season as necessary (the bacon and stock may be salty).
Clamp on the casserole pot's lid and cook in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until dark and very thick. Drizzle with a little olive oil to serve.
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