More Soup for You! — Brothy Tomato & Pancetta Soup

January 16, 2012 § 1 Comment

DON'T PUREE ME BRO! Photo cred: Carrie Murphy

Today’s recipe actually isn’t actually here at PIIYF. It’s over there, at Plums In the Icebox, a great food/literature blog by my Interwebby pal, Carrie Murphy.

Carrie has a series at her blog called Writers Eat, where she asks writers to share their favorite recipes. She kindly asked me to take part, and so I did. Carrie claims I’m one of the nicest guys on the Internet, which is strange, because I always think I’m kind of a dick IRL. Just this weekend in Akron, my friends and I were joking about how backwards I am from most people. Whereas most people are nice IRL and use the psuedo-anonymity of the Internet to be assholes, I tend to be really nice on the Internet and something of an asshole IRL. At least they said I was a “charming” sort of asshole, like Dennis Leary or Louis C.K.

Anyway, enough about me. Head on over to Plums In the Icebox, and check out the recipe for the soup pictured above, an incredible tomato & pancetta soup that is left brothy and chunky, instead of the standard pureed tomato soups most people are used to.


I Stole This Recipe – Potato Bacon Soup

January 4, 2012 § 14 Comments

While in college, I worked as a cook for a year at an undisclosed restaurant in Muncie. There were a number of menu items that were next to perfect, that I wanted to make for myself at home–like this potato soup. So I did what anyone with less-than-scrupulous culinary morals would do. I stole the recipe.

It’s modified a bit from the original, but for the most part, it remains intact. For example, the original recipe made over 4 gallons of soup. So, I did some simple math to cut it down to a more manageable 1 gallon’ish recipe. Also, the original uses a full pound of bacon, so I cut down on that a bit, and since my wife eats kosher, I use turkey bacon.

NB: If you’re going to steal recipes from where you work, don’t get caught. I did, and I was terminated as you’d expect. But this soup was totally worth it.

Contraband Potato Bacon Soup

What You’ll Need How Much
turkey bacon*, diced 12 oz.
celery, diced 2 stalks
yellow onion, diced 3/4 c
pepper, fresh-cracked if you’ve the arms for it 1 T
salt 1 T
butter* 4 T
garlic, minced 1 T
flour 1/2 c
dried thyme 1 1/2 t
basil 1 1/2 t
heavy cream 5 c
2% milk 2 c
baked russet potato guts 1 1/2 lbs. (4-6 potatoes)

*If using regular pork bacon, use only 1 T of butter. Turkey bacon renders less fat, so more butter is needed for the roux.

Mise En Place: a Bourgie French Way of Saying, "All Systems Go for Launch"

Pro Tip: When making soup, things go much smoother when you have all your shit chopped, measured, diced, and altogether ready to go. You’re reading a food blog, so you probably know this is called a mise en place (pronounced “meez on plahs”), which is just a bourgie French way of saying, “All systems go for launch.”

Making soup is an exercise in chilling the hell out and letting things do their thing, so instead of scrambling around looking for ingredients and hectic last-second measuring, having everything ready to go helps with the “chilling the hell out” part. Having bourbon on hand helps, too.

What You’ll Do

1) Preheat the oven to 450F. Wash the potatoes, and stab the all hell out of them with a fork so they don’t explode in the oven. Put them directly on the rack in the middle of the oven, and bake for 45 minutes or until they are soft when you squeeze them (you should probably use an oven mitt for this). Let them cool 30 minutes, slice them in half, and scoop out the guts with a spoon. The guts should be crumbled to the size of potato chunks you want in your soup.

Pro Tip: I highly suggest doing this well before you cook the soup. I usually do it the night before and refrigerate the guts. For one, you won’t burn your hands on hot potatoes trying to gut them in recipe real-time. And two, cold guts means they cook longer in the last step, so the potato starches help thicken and flavor the soup.

2) In a 6 qt. stock pot over medium heat, cook the bacon, celery, onions, garlic, thyme, basil, salt, pepper, and butter, stirring often. Cook until bacon is cooked (though not crispy) and veggies are softened, about 10-15 minutes.

Aroma Boners.

Make sure you’re wearing an apron for this step – not because of grease spatters, but because unless you suffer from anosmia, you will get an aroma boner, which can be embarrassing in mixed company.

3) Remove from heat. Add flour and stir until thoroughly mixed. Whisk in heavy whipping cream. Replace on medium to medium-high heat and allow to thicken, stirring often. Be careful not to allow scorching on bottom.

Thicken That Cream

4) Add the 2% milk and baked potato guts. Bring to low boil and heat through.

Now That's What I Call Soup

5) Ladle a serving into a bowl, and put it in your face. Feel free to garnish with some shredded cheese or bacon bits, but in some circles, this can be considered “overkill.”

Should feed 8-10 faces.

Pro Tip: If you have a decent amount left over, you should soak the leftovers in an ice bath before transferring them to the refrigerator. Otherwise, your fridge will work overtime trying to keep cool with all the soup’s residual heat.

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