Adapted from www.soupchick.com
2 large leeks
1 lb new potatoes, washed but not peeled
2 strips no nitrate bacon
2 tsp olive oil or butter
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, plus a few extra for garnish
4 cups homemade chicken stock (or low-sodium store-bought broth)
Kosher salt, if needed (taste first; if you’re using store-bought broth, you won’t need salt)
Fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup milk
Trim the stem end and down to 2 ½ inches of the green parts of the leeks, and remove the outermost layer. Dice the remaining white part of the leeks into 1/4-inch pieces, and place in a large bowl. Fill the bowl with cool water, and agitate with your hand, swishing the leeks around to loosen the dirt. Then, set the bowl aside, and do not disturb it. The dirt will settle to the bottom, and the clean diced leeks will float on top.
Dice the potatoes into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces, and set aside.
In a small (3- or 4-quart) Dutch oven or heavy nonreactive saucepan with a lid, cook the bacon over low heat until semi-crisp but not brittle. Drain on paper towels, and set aside.
To the bacon fat in the pot, add the olive oil. Use a strainer to gently skim the leeks out of the water (don’t stir up the water, as the dirt has settled on the bottom), and add them to the pot. Stir and cook for 2 minutes, until the leeks are translucent but not brown. Add the potatoes and thyme, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Then, add the stock. Turn heat to high, and bring the soup to a boil; then, reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 25 minutes.
Taste, and add salt (if needed) and black pepper. With a wooden spoon, smash most of the potatoes against the side of the pot, leaving at least one-fourth of the potatoes in chunks. Stir in the milk, and crumble in 1-1/2 strips of bacon. Stir to combine, and taste again. Adjust the seasoning if needed.
Serve hot, garnishing each individual bowl with a bit of crumbled bacon and some thyme leaves.