My Running Girls, as you may know from reading this blog, gather periodically to hang out, prepare and eat great food, drink wine and just generally revel in our own good company.
This month's get-together is going to be a little different. Tomorrow (January 22) we're going to celebrate the 5th Annual National Soup Swap. Like soup swaps all over the country, ours will benefit a local food bank. Soup swappers will be donating canned goods and the farm families at Cabot Creamery will be making a donation to our food bank as well.
Cabot has enlisted four more nationally prominent bloggers to hold Soup Swaps in their towns, too. Shelly Kramer, Rachel Matthews, Summer Poquette, and Danielle Smith will all be posting about their events and delicious soup recipes.
Here's how the Running Girl soup swap will work: each of us will make our favorite soup, put it in six one-quart containers and bring it to the party, along with printed copies of the recipe. Each person draws a number to determine the order of the swap. But before the swapping begins, we'll have "The Telling of the Soup." In numerical order, we'll tell everyone about what we made. Is your soup spicy? Organic? Vegetarian? An old family recipe?
Then we get down to business...and start Soup Swapping! I'll be taking pictures and videos, so their will be documentary evidence of the delicious fun. And to prime the soup swap pump, I'm posting my soup recipe below.
Behold. I give you (drum roll, please)...
BLT - Bacon Loves Tomato - Soup
This hearty soup is loaded with veggies and just a hint of bacon. Substitute olive oil for the bacon for a yummy vegetarian version. The 50% Reduced Fat Cheddar is a perfect topping. (Adapted from a recipe by Chef Jim Neutzi of The Capital Grille.)
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
1. Preheat oven to 350º.
2. Drain tomatoes through a strainer. Reserve juice.
3. Roast tomatoes in single layer for 25 minutes.
4. 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.
5. Remove cover, add garlic and cook uncovered 5 more minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
6. Add white wine and stir, deglazing flavors from bottom of pan.
7. 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.
8. Remove soup from heat and stir in basil leaves. Cool soup for 30 minutes.
9. Puree soup in small batches in blender or food processor 10. Correct seasoning with salt and pepper.
11. Heat soup in stockpot. Serve piping hot in bowls and garnish with shredded Cheddar and bacon bits.