With all talk in elevators turning to the soon to arrive cold front, I figured I needed to stock up on some soup.  This is one of my favourites, my option has a few extras, but you can leave those out if you want and the soup will still taste great on a cold winters day.  I add a glass of beer to the soup it gives it a nice fullness, as well as finely grated mature cheddar for some rich creaminess, topped with extra crispy bacon this is a real meal in itself.

Beer, Bacon, Potato & Leek Soup
Serves 4

–  2 sprigs thyme
–  2 tbsp olive oil
–  20gms butter
–  250gms streaky bacon
–  400gms leeks, finely sliced
–  4-6 medium potatoes, peeled and small dice
–  1 litre chicken stock
–  200ml beer, I used Carlsberg, any malty beer will do (optional)
–  100gms finely grated mature cheddar (optional)
–  100mls cream

In a heavy based soup pot, add the olive oil and half the bacon chopped into small pieces, fry until the bacon has started to lose its fat, then add the butter, thyme and the leeks.  Allow the leaks to soften, but not to brown.  Once the leaks are softened add the beer and allow the leaks to absorb all its delicious flavour.  Now add the stock and potatoes, add some salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat, and cover the pot, allow it to cook for around 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.

Remove the soup from the heat, and blend it carefully until smooth and creamy.  Place back on low heat and add the cream and cheese if you are using it.  If the soup is too thick add a little millk, stock or water.  Serve the soup topped with a little more crispy bacon and some more grated cheese.