Anyone who is trying to lose weight need not read any further. Anyone who is diabetic needs to click away. Anyone who has heart issues or who is gluten-intolerant, hit delete. Now, if there is anyone left...anyone who loves comfort food that is truly comforting, anyone who isn't afraid of a bowl full of carbs, anyone who is willing to risk clogging an artery or two, anyone who has a hankering for the yummiest of yummy soups on a cold, wintry day, well then, this one's for you!
Let me assure you, I'm not being overly dramatic...this soup is amazing. And yes, it's made with burned toast - the more burned the better - so you don't even need to be a good cook to make this! I know it sounds improbable but when you combine bacon (hello! now I've got you hooked it's time I reel you in!) with bread and Dijon and butter...and you add stock and milk, you've got a mouthful of savory, soupy, deliciousness. Deliciousness as a noun, good clean grammar fun right there!
I was in the middle of preparing for a baby shower (see previous post) at my home - so much to do, so little time - baking, cleaning, cobweb detection, removing Rosie's buried bones in the sofa, washing little fingerprints off windows, all the usual stuff, when I checked my email and found this recipe in my inbox. Like a gift from God, it was. Burned Toast Soup. The name was just too intriguing - and that was all it took for me to abandon my duties, yes, drop everything on my to-do list, and make this soup.
It was the best decision I made that entire day. Deciding to eat two desserts at 10 pm that night was definitely not the best decision, asking the mister about the book he was reading before going to sleep was not the best decision, he talked about it for 20 minutes before coming up for air. Earlier in the day I had decided to take Rosie for a walk in my slippers and that was not the best decision, I slipped on the hill in the park and slid for a fair piece before being stopped by a tree. Nothing bruised but my ego. So making this soup, and then sitting for a full 15 minutes to enjoy spoonful to the fullest, well, as you can clearly see, it was the best decision I could have made!
In the pictures above you'll see my toast isn't as burned as it could have been...my mistake...it's much better soup when the toast is really blackened!!! So go ahead and set off your smoke alarms, your taste buds will thank you! This recipe said it makes 4 servings, but they aren't big servings, about 3/4's of a cup each, and really, that's all you will need as it is very thick and filling, like a chowder. But if you're feeding people with big appetites, you know, loggers and fishermen and those of that ilk, then by all means, double the batch and fill those bowls!
Burned Toast Soup - Adapted from Tejal Rao, via The New York Times
12 pieces of bacon (I used the precooked bacon you can buy at Costco, in the big package, or you can find it at Safeway in smaller and more expensive packages, and if you haven't purchased it, DO!!! It's life-changing! You can have bacon almost immediately without any greasy mess or having your house/hair/clothes smelling like bacon. Of course, you can use regular bacon, too.)
2 cups chicken stock
3 thick slices of sourdough bread, about 5 1/2 ounces
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Madiera or Sherry or sherry vinegar
4 tablespoons butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a small stockpot or Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until cooked through but not crisp. Reserve a few pieces of bacon for garnish. Pour the chicken stock over the bacon, bring to a simmer and remove from heat. Toast the bread slices under a broiler or in a toaster, allowing them to blacken on the edges and turn deep brown all over. Add toast to the stock, ripping it up if it does not fit the pot. Let stand for 10 minutes so the toast can soak up the stock.
Meanwhile, heat the milk in the microwave until it is hot, then add it to the pot. Add the mustard, madiera or sherry, season with salt and pepper. Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture until smooth or transfer to a blender to puree, then return to the pot. Heat gently. When hot, whisk in the butter until it disappears into the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste, garnish with reserved bacon. Check the batteries in your defibrillator and enjoy! Serves 4.