What’s cooking today: Creamy potato and bacon soup

What’s cooking today: Creamy potato and bacon soup
Tony Jackman’s creamy potato and bacon soup. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

I wanted to mark my return to the fold with a comforting recipe, this winter being really biting right now. Potatoes, bacon, cream. In a soup. That should do it.

I have been off on sabbatical for a month and have really been feeling the cold. I don’t know about your neck off the woods, but in the past four weeks I’ve been to Calvinia (icy), KwaZulu-Natal (surprisingly chilly, with warmer patches), Johannesburg (I caught a pleasantly warm spell, but mornings were cold), and Matjiesfontein, which was in the grip of a spectacularly icy weekend. We kept checking for snow. Somewhere along the way there was a night in pothole-blighted Ladybrand in the southern Free State, where the temperatures were as grim as this once-beautiful town with its glorious mountain setting.

But! Only weeks now and we’ll be past the worst of this singularly cold winter. Meanwhile, this soup is likely to cheer your spirits.

Both regular and sour cream go into this soup, as well as chicken stock, for a bit of body and depth. There’s no herb as such but you can dress it with chopped parsley when serving. I use a few gratings of nutmeg, which counterbalances nicely with the bacon that infuses the entire soup, thanks to it being cooked with the onions and celery at the outset.

I used a product called breakfast bacon, which is cheaper than standard at under R30 for a 200 g pack. It’s only going into a soup, so there’s no need to break the bank. It’s pretty lean, which is fine, because you don’t want a greasy soup.

(Serves 4)


6 large potatoes, peeled and diced

Cold water

Salt, generously

1 large onion, chopped

3 Tbsp butter

3 celery sticks, diced

3 garlic cloves, chopped finely

200 g lean bacon, diced

1 litre chicken stock

500 ml full cream milk

250 ml sour cream

250 ml cream

Three gratings of nutmeg


White pepper

Parsley, chopped, for serving

Bacon bits, fried in a little olive oil, as a garnish

A splash of olive oil for the bacon


Peel the potatoes and dice them so that each potato has eight dice (slice in half, then quarters, then eighths).

Put the diced potatoes in a pot with lots of cold water, salt it generously and stir. Bring to a boil and cook for about 20 minutes. Drain into a colander.

Meanwhile, chop the onions and garlic, and dice the celery and bacon, leaving a bit of bacon aside to use as a garnish later.

Melt the butter and add the onion first. Simmer, stirring, until softened, then add the celery and garlic and continue simmering while stirring, for a few minutes. Add the bacon bits (remember to keep a bit for garnish), and stir while cooking gently for a few more minutes. Fry the remaining bacon in olive oil until crisp.

Add the cooked potatoes to the pot, and stir. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook gently for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes are very tender.

Add the milk and both creams, and a few gratings of nutmeg. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.

Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes more.

Blitz the soup with a handheld blender or in a processor and, if necessary, reheat.

Serve garnished with crisp bacon bits and chopped parsley. DM

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.

This dish is photographed in wares by Mervyn Gers Ceramics.


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