Ingredients

25 g (1 oz) butter
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
500 g (1 lb) leeks, thinly sliced, white and green parts kept separate
1 smoked back bacon rasher, diced. plus 4 grilled rashers, chopped, to garnish
375 g (12 oz) potatoes, diced
900 ml (12 pints) chicken or vegetable stock
300 ml (2 pint) milk
150 ml (4 pint) double cream
150 g (5 oz) mature Stilton (rind removed), diced
salt and pepper

Instructions

1.Preheat the slow cooker if necessary. Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan, then add the white leek slices, the diced bacon and potatoes and fry over a medium heat, stirring, until just beginning to turn golden.
2.Pour in the stock, add a little salt and pepper and bring to the boil, stirring. Transfer to the slow cooker pot, cover with the lid and cook on low for 5-6 hours.
3.Stir the reserved green leek slices and milk into the slow cooker pot. Replace the lid and cook, still on low, for 30 minutes or until the leeks are tender.
4. Roughly purée the soup in the pot with a stick blender or use a masher, if preferred.
5.Mix in the cream and two-thirds of the Stilton cheese and continue stirring until the cheese has melted.
6.Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed, then ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with the remaining cheese and chopped grilled bacon.
7.FOR COCK-A-LEEKIE SOUP, heat the butter and oil as above, then add 2 chicken thighs on the bone and fry until golden, remove them from the pan and put into the slow cooker pot.
8.Fry the white leek slices, bacon and potatoes as above, then mix in 1.2 litres (2 pints) chicken stock, 50 g (2 oz) chopped ready-to-eat pitted prunes and a thyme sprig.
9.Season, bring to the boil, then transfer to the slow cooker pot. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
10.Take the chicken off the bone, discarding the skin, then dice the meat and return it to the pot with the green leek slices.
11.Cook for 30 minutes, then ladle into bowls, omitting the milk, cream, Stilton and bacon garnish.

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