It’s sunny and gonna come close to 70º today…
It is also November, so that means a nice bowl of soup is a pretty good idea.
Cheddar cheese soup.
OK, so now that I have your attention, let us consider this really very nice recipe from the very nice folk at Food Network.
Of course, I made a few changes to make it my own, and, after having made this once, believe that I should make one more:
I will, from now on, replace the toasted rye bread cubes with toasted pumpernickel (which will also work a treat if you want to make some Ruebens).
•2 tbsp bacon fat
•24 oz small gold potatoes
•2 cups diced sweet onion
•2 cups diced apple
•4 cups low sodium chicken stock
•2 cups unsweetened apple juice
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tbsp Dijon mustard
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce – or your fave hot sauce, to taste
•3/4 tsp Kosher salt
•1/2 tsp black pepper
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
•2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (I used a Wisconsin jalapeño Cheddar)
•3 slices bacon
•Toasted rye (or pumpernickel!) bread cubes
*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.
Wash the potatoes, then slice them in half and cover with cold water in a bowl. Set aside to rest until needed.
Heat your oven to 250º, then cut your bread of choice into one inch cubes and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Bake for 30 minutes, until crisped, then remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Cook the bacon in a large pot over medium heat until crispity – about four or five minutes per side should do it. Remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate to cool.
Drain all but two tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pot, increase the heat to medium high, then drain the potatoes and add to the pot with the apple and onion.
Note: not enough bacon fat to make two tablespoons? Add olive or canola oil (or butter!) to make up the difference.
Cook, stirring often, for about eight minutes, until the apples are soft.
Stir in the chicken stock, apple juice, Sherry Peppers Sauce, hot sauce, Dijon mustard, salt, black pepper, and Aleppo pepper and bring to a simmer.
Simmer, still stirring often, for another ten or twelve minutes, until the potatoes are tender, then lover the heat, add the Cheddar and stir until melted.
Now, you have an option:
If you have an immersion blender, use that in the pot to blend the soup until it is thick and smooth.
If you don’t have an immersion blender (why not?), transfer the soup in batches to a blender and pulse until as smooth as you like. Of course, then there is the bowl to stash the soup in stages before returning it, all pulsed and smooth to the pot; and then, there will be that bowl and the blender to wash. Seems a lot of bother.
Crumble the bacon pieces and stir into the soup. Give it a taste (nice!) but sure, go ahead and add a bit more salt, if you think it needs it.
Serve with those crusty rye (or pumpernickel!) bread cubes, and chopped fresh chives sprinkled over the top.