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When we first prepared this recipe, we weren't quite sure we'd like this soup served cold, but we figured we could always heat it up if we preferred it that way. However, when the soup was done and we tried it chilled, it was absolutely delicious! A wonderfully creamy and tasty soup, a keeper for my cookbook. It is an adaption of a recipe from Gourmet Magazine (June 1989). The original recipe made a huge batch - this is our scaled-down version with some substitutions. The recipe could easily be made vegetarian simply by omitting the bacon (although you could try veggie bacon) and using vegetable broth. Prep time includes chilling.
- 1 slice lean bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch strips
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large vidalia onions, sliced thin
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1⁄3 cup dry white wine
- 1⁄4 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1⁄2 bay leaf
- 1⁄4 cup well-chilled heavy cream or 1⁄4 cup half-and-half
- 1⁄4 cup creme fraiche or 1⁄4 cup cream cheese
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 -2 dash Tabasco sauce, to taste
- 2 dashes freshly grated nutmeg
- 1⁄3 cup crouton
- 1⁄4 cup thinly sliced scallion
- salt, to taste
- fresh ground black pepper or tricolor pepper, to taste
- In a heavy kettle cook the bacon over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until it is crisp and transfer it with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.
- Add the butter and oil to the kettle and in the fat cook the onion and garlic, covered, over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until they are colored lightly and softened.
- Add chicken broth, wine, thyme, and bay leaf and simmer the mixture, covered, for 20 minutes.
- Discard the bay leaf and in a blender or food processor purée the mixture in batches.
- Strain the mixture into a bowl, pressing hard on the solids- this is an important step, so don't skimp on the time it might take to separate the solids; discard solids.
- Chill the mixture covered, for 3 to 4 hours, or until it is cold.
- Whisk in the heavy cream (I use 1/2 and 1/2), crème fraîche (I use softened cream cheese), lemon juice, Tabasco, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste- I used a stick blender to get the milk and cheese smooth- and serve the soup in chilled bowls, sprinkle with the bacon, croutons, and scallion.
- Notes: The texture of this came out very much like tomato soup- at first, after doing the puree in the food processor, I considered just putting the whole mess into the soup, because when I put the puree into the strainer the drip of liquid was slow; but I took about 15 minutes with a spatula, moving the puree around and pressing it through the strainer and scraping it off the bottom, and sure enough, eventually I had most of it through and what came out into the bowl (and scraped off the bottom of the strainer) was quite a different texture than what I would have gotten otherwise; I ended up with about 4 cups of liquid (also containing*very* fine puree) and about a 1/2 cup of solids.
We were both surprised at how delicious this soup ended up! Although it is a bit of work, it is worth every bit of effort. A keeper for many years to come.