Leek & Sweet Potato Soup with Proscuitto
4 leeks, white and pale green parts
1/4 cup olive oil
6 slices of proscuitto, cut into ribbons
1 1/2 tsp minced thyme
8 cups chicken stock
2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled, and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1. Cut the leeks in half lengthwise and then cut each half crosswise into pieces 1/2 inch thick.
2. In a large, heavy pot, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the proscuitto and sauté until crisp, about 6 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
3. Add the leeks to the pot and stir to coat. Rduce the heat to medium-low, cook, and over. Stir occasionally, until the leeks begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the thyme.
4.Raise the heat to medium-high and slowly add the chicken broth while stirring constantly. Add the potatoes and bay leaves, season with pepper, cover, and bring to a boil.
5. Reduce the heat to medium-low ad simmer until the potatoes just start to become tender, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, until he potatoes are tender all the way through, about 15 minutes.
6. Remove about 1/3 to 1/2 of the soup mixture and puree in blender. Add the thick mixture back into the pot and bring to a simmer.
7. Serve garnished with the fried proscuitto.