Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bacon-y tomato soup with red peppers and goat cheese

I am that person who can eat soup pretty much any day of the year.
I like it in cold weather and I like it in hot weather.
I am a soup person.

Lately I have taken to making a simple dinner at least one night a week. Often this involves some combination of soup, salad and/or sandwich.

I enjoy all sorts of soups, but really like a puree.

Combining several favorite flavors and using ingredients I already had on hand, I made a lovely puree:
Bacon-y tomato soup with red peppers and goat cheese

Serves 4
8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces - I like the Nieman Ranch bacon from Trader Joe's
1 small white onion
3 garlic cloves
6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed and chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
3 stalks celery, diced
3 carrots, diced
14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes, with the juice
8 ounces roasted red pepper, drained and chopped
15 ounce can of white or pinto beans, drained
4-5 cups chicken broth
3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
creme fraiche or sour cream, optional

Cook the bacon in a large stock pot. Once bacon is crisp, remove from pan and set aside.
Discard all but about 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat.
In the remaining bacon fat cook the onion, garlic and thyme until soft.
Add celery and carrots and cook on medium heat about 10 minutes, until soft.
Add tomatoes with juice, red peppers and beans.
Stir in 4 cups of the chicken broth and cook on medium heat about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat.

Using an immersion blender, puree soup until it is smooth (or to the texture you like). Add more broth as needed to get the texture you like.
(If you do not have an immersion blender, puree in batches in a food processor or blender. Return soup to pan when done.)

Put soup back on medium heat and add goat cheese, stirring until cheese is melted.
Salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls. If you like, add a small dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream.
Divide chives and sprinkle on top of soup.
Finally, sprinkle bacon pieces over the whole thing.

I, of course, added the creme fraiche.
I actually got five decent sized servings out of this.
For dinner for two at home I paired this with grilled white cheddar sammies on sourdough.
The remaining three servings went to my mom, sister and brother-in-law.
They all raved about the soup.
I am guessing it was even better the next day when they ate it. It is just that kind of soup.


Norkio said...

Is there a reason you couldn't puree the tomatos and beans prior to adding them to the soup? Six of one, half a dozen of the other?

Jill said...

I don't see why not. But the other stuff in there (onion, celery, carrots, etc) would still be chunky.