I wasn't originally planning on posting this, so there's only one picture. This is a delicious potato leek soup made with asparagus-mushroom broth. Normally a potato leek soup is mixed so that the potatoes give the soup some body, but I took a different approach, and it worked!
The key to this dish was the homemade broth. This particular batch had a lot of asparagus stems and leftover mushrooms, and had strong elements of those flavors. I thought that they would go well with the potatoes and leeks, and I was right.
I started by cooking four strips of bacon in the soup pan, which I placed on a paper towel to drain and crisp when they were finished. If you wanted to make this vegan, you would leave out this step, though you will lose flavor.
While the bacon was cooking, I had shredded two small potatoes and chopped up about four inches of a fat leek. These went into the bacon fat, along with salt and a little extra olive oil - adjust the quantities of fat as needed. I fried the leeks and potatoes for about 5 minutes before adding the broth (about 6 cups).
I let the broth simmer for another 15 or 20 minutes, until the potatoes were tender, and then I added pepper, chopped parsley, and the crumbled bacon I had cooked at the beginning. Cooking the bacon first and using the fat gets the flavor throughout the dish, and adding the actual bacon at the end leaves it crispy - it would have gotten soggy cooking in the water.
Overall, this was a very simple soup - bacon, broth, potatoes, leeks, salt, pepper, parsley, and thats it! The taste was great. All the vegetable tastes were strong but balanaced. The potatoes and bacon added enough body to make it feel filling and nourishing, and it made a great first course for dinner.