- 1 cup 50% Reduced Fat Sharp Cheddar
- 5 slices applewood smoked bacon
- 3 cans plum tomatoes, 28 oz.
- 2 medium onions, sliced thin
- 2 fennel bulbs, sliced thin
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bag of baby spinach
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 cup chicken (or vegetable) stock
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Drain tomatoes through a strainer. Reserve juice.
- Roast tomatoes in single layer for 25 minutes.
- In large saucepan, cook bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels, crumble into bits and set aside. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat. Season onions, fennel and carrots with sea salt and cook over low heat in bacon drippings. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until veggies are soft.
- Remove cover, add garlic and cook uncovered 5 more minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
- Add white wine and stir, deglazing flavors from bottom of pan.
- Add roasted tomatoes, spinach, chicken (or veggie) stock and reserved tomato juice, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
- Remove soup from heat and stir in basil leaves. Cool soup for 30 minutes.
- Puree soup in small batches in blender or food processor
- Correct seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Heat soup in stockpot. Serve piping hot in bowls and garnish with shredded Cheddar and bacon bits.