Let It Snow, I Don’t Care…

20 11 2008

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Today, we had our first big snowfall of the season. It’s officially winter in the Not-So-Great-White-North, and I couldn’t care less. Now, I’m not one of those people that gripes with every changing season, constantly wishing that the weather was doing the opposite of what it is, counting down the days until the next season change because of course, then it will be better! No sir, not me. Well that’s a lie; I hate summer. But since it is anything BUT summer, I digress.

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I actually like winter. Not so much being outside in the winter, but watching outside from inside in the winter with a big bowl of something warm. I like watching the snow fall, making stews and soups, and wearing woolen leg-warmers, fingerless gloves and hats inside with a mug of peppermint tea. I’ve even been, on occasion, known to actually bring myself outside and careen down a mountain strapped to a thin piece of fiberglass just to be able to warm up afterwards. It’s mostly about the cooking, though.

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To celebrate the beginning of what I hope to be a white yet mild winter, I made a pot of soup. One of my classmates is partially to blame for this, actually, for if it wasn’t for her buying a bowl of potato, bacon and cheddar soup on our break today, I probably never would have gotten the idea to make my own at home. But she did, and I did, and this is me telling you about it. Onward and upward.

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I don’t make soups too often. It’s not because I dont’ like to or want to, but because I tend to disregard them as actual meals. In my mind, a meal should have a meat and a vegetable, maybe a starch, and all of these things should need to be chewed. Soup just doesn’t follow those rules(let it be known that I don’t eat broth soups with chunks of such things floating within so stop thinking you’re so clever) and that’s why I don’t think about it. However, on rare occasions, I do infact crave soup, and when I do, it’s 95% of the time a cream soup. This is perfect for the little autistic kid in me that NEEDS a meal to have a meat, vegetable and maybe a starch because lo and behold, it does! And it’s all suspended in a delicious, creamy veloute. Who could ask for more?

Potato, Bacon and Cheddar Soup
Serves 4 as a starter, 2-3 as a main

5 slices of bacon, cut into strips
2/3 cup onion, fine dice
2 cloves garlic, fine dice
4 tbsp butter
3/4 cup flour(approx.)
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups 2% milk
2 cups potatoes, medium-small cubes
1 cup shredded old white cheddar
pinch each of cloves and nutmeg

Sautee bacon and onions until bacon has let off most of it’s fat into the pan and onions are translucent; add butter. Add garlic and sweat for 30 sec. Stir in flour to make a roux. Mixture should pull away from the pan. Slowly add chicken stock, stirring constantly. Once encorporated, stir in milk and add potatoes. Let simmer on medium-low for an hour, or until the potatoes are cooked through but are still pleasant to the bite. You will have to get up and stir this soup every so often as the roux DOES like to stick to the bottom of the pot, but that’s easy enough to fix by aggressive scraping with the spoon. Once the potatoes are cooked, check your seasoning and add cloves, nutmeg and pepper as needed. You probably won’t need to add any salt as the bacon will fix that for you but go nuts if you like to. I’m no one’s doctor. Add cheese and stir until melted.

Serve with crusty bread, soft snow and a warm pair of wool socks while pretending the world does not exist.

Currently listening to: City and Colour

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4 responses

20 11 2008
Neil

Hey Kelly,
I actually was on a bit of a soup kick for a while, as we happened to have alot of soup-worthy ingredients – potatoes, squash, leeks, and some other root veggies. Most things turned out pretty well, though sometimes I found it was left with a grainy sort of texture if i pureed it. Also, I’m confused about cooking with dairy. You say to add milk right away, but I’ve always been worried that if you add dairy before you bring it to a boil it will curdle. What’s the dilly-o?
Great looking recipe, too bad my g/f doesn’t eat pork or other red meat. She’s the only reason I actually cook and don’t just eat cereal and perogies all day.

20 11 2008
Bunny

Sometimes after you puree, it helps to just strain your soup in a sieve, put it back on the stove for a few minutes, and finish with a shot of 35% cream. Also, you might need to cook your vegetables longer, like they’ve got to be to the point where you think they might be overcooked before you puree. Or use more liquid. I have faith in you though so I doubt that undercooking is the problem…
The milk in this or any roux-based soup will not curdle right away, or at all actually because you’ve bound it and emulsified it with the roux(your butter and flour). It becomes more stable, though it will burn if left unattended so stir it often and keep it on a low heat. You can make just about any kind of cream soup in this manner and are only limited by your imagination(and maybe the diet of your loved ones).
Well I’m glad that you have a reason to cook real food, though I don’t quite know what I would do without bacon or steak!

21 11 2008
sarah von

Snow and soup are a nearly unbeatable pairing, no? Love the photos!

22 11 2008
Bunny

Absolutely! And thanks ; )

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