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This is thick, warming, full of goodness, and just happens to taste amazing. Start the recipe a day ahead for best results.
1 Make the stock first. Put bacon hock in a deep container or saucepan and cover with cold water. Soak for 2 hours, drain and rinse. Return it to a clean saucepan and add remaining ingredients. Cover with 2.5 litres cold water, bring to the boil, then cook gently, at a simmer, for 2 hours.
2 Strain stock into a large bowl. Set aside bacon hock and stock but discard vegetables. Cool stock quickly, then cover and refrigerate. Once cold, skim off fat, then run through a fine sieve. Remove all meat from bacon bone while warm, chop coarsely and transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate.
3 To make the soup, put oil in large stockpot, add leeks, then put potatoes on top. Add 1 Tbsp water and set pan over a medium heat. As soon as pan is warming up and cooking has started, cover it with a lid, lower heat and cook very gently for 20 minutes until leeks have softened down.
4 Add 1 litre bacon stock and thyme, bring to a gentle boil, then lower heat and cook very gently 45-50 minutes, until very tender. Cool soup for 10 minutes, then puree half of the solid part of the soup in a food processor with the chopped parsley, then return it to soup pot. Swirl in reserved bacon meat. Taste soup for seasoning. Add salt a little at a time, swirling it in and letting it settle for a few minutes before swirling it again and tasting. Serve soup piping hot.
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