Creamy Potato & Leek Soup with Pancetta
adapted from a recipe at Mennoite Girls Can Cook
2 tablespoons butter
2 bay leaves
1 large or 2 small leeks, cleaned & sliced thin
1 medium yellow onion or 3 medium cipollini onions  
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 to 6 medium potatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thin (skin on or off) - I used 6 medium red potatoes.
7 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup of half & half
1/4 cup diced pancetta, cooked until crisp -
I buy mine at Trader Joes, all ready diced fined in a 4oz package. Total convenience!
salt & pepper
2 bay leaves
Pinch basil
Pinch tarragon

In a large heavy bottomed stock pot cook the pancetta until golden and crispy. Remove from the pan with a strainer and set aside, leaving the remaining oil in the pan. Add the onions, leeks, garlic and 2 tablespoons of butter. Cook over medium high heat until onion and leeks are just beginning to turn golden.

Add in the sliced potatoes, chicken broth, half & half and 2 bay leaves. You want the broth to cover the potatoes. At this point you can add what you like for seasoning. I added in salt, pepper, a pinch of tarragon, and another pinch of basil. Up to a full cup of half & half, or heavy cream can be added to this recipe, but I found just a 1/2 cup of half & half made it creamy enough.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a slow simmer. This batch cooked about 45 minutes. I stirred it every once in awhile to break the potatoes up a bit. I didn't skin my potatoes. Once the potatoes seemed like they were breaking down, I took my stick blender and mixed it for about 30 seconds. I didn't want to break up all the potato pieces. I wanted to leave some whole. If you'd like a true "creamy" soup, you can certainly blender it longer. The last step is to add the pancetta back in. Enjoy!