I have been eating BLT Soup at a beautiful bistro-style restaurant in a town not too far from our home for many years. I order it there without fail every time we visit. It sounded so strange to me before trying it there for the first time. Who puts iceberg lettuce in soup? They do - and it rocks!
And, since making it at home myself ... now I do, too!
When you dig into this soup, you really do feel like you are eating a BLT sandwich, but in soup form. All the flavors are there. Crusty bread on the side for dipping is highly recommended, but the soup is great on its own, as well.
You have a couple of options when making this soup. Let me explain, then you can decide for yourself what you think you'll prefer ...
First, it doesn't come with potatoes in it at the restaurant where I order it. But, I put potatoes in it sometimes at home. Go this route if you're wanting a heartier, chunkier soup. The second option is whether or not to leave some of the bacon that you crisp up (when first starting the soup) in the pan as you build the soup OR remove it all for garnish to stir in at the time of service. If you leave some of the crisp bacon in throughout the entire cooking process, it will get a little soft and chewy. If you like that, go for it! If not, crisp up the bacon in the beginning, remove it from the pan, retain the bacon fat in the pan as you begin making the soup and then add the crisp bacon back into the soup when you're ready to serve it. (You can keep the bacon warm in a low-temp oven, if desired.)
Oh, and one more thing ... I take a cue from Paul Deen's BLT Soup recipe by adding on a dollop of a sour cream and mayo mixture (recipe below) when serving this soup. It really drives home the BLT sandwich taste - especially for me since I always have mayo on my BLT sandwiches.
P.S. Yes, I am completely aware that this is not a diet-friendly soup. Moderation, friends, moderation. It is okay to indulge once in a blue moon. Hugs! ~ Angela
Yields 4 - 6 servings.
8 ounces bacon, cut into small pieces
1/2 large onion, peeled and minced
3 - 4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks (optional - see note above)
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
5 cups chicken stock, warmed
1/8 teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Black pepper (to taste)
1 cup heavy cream
2 - 3 green onions, sliced (use both white and green parts)
1/4 head iceberg lettuce, julienned (plus a little more for garnish)
1 fresh tomato, diced
Salt (only if needed at the end of cooking)
In a soup pot set to medium heat, cook the bacon until just crisp. Remove half of the bacon with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain (or remove all of the bacon per your preference - see note above). Retain the bacon fat in the pan and add in the minced onions and cook for a couple of minutes until they begin to soften. (Add in the potatoes with the onions, if using.) Add in the butter and stir to melt. Sprinkle in the flour and stir to coat onions (and potatoes, if using). Cook - stirring occasionally - for about 3 minutes to cook off the raw flour taste.
Pour in the warmed chicken stock. Stir and allow to come to a boil. Simmer - stirring occasionally - until potatoes are fork-tender, but not mushy. (If not using potatoes in the soup, just simmer for about ten minutes.) During this time, add in the nutmeg, red pepper flakes and black pepper.
Reduce heat to low. Add the heavy cream and stir to blend. Add in the lettuce, the sliced green onions and half of the diced tomato. Allow soup to come back up to temperature. Simmer on low for about five minutes prior to serving.
Taste and add salt only if needed.
Serve with additional lettuce and tomato as garnish in each bowl. Top with crisp bacon and a small dollop of a sour cream/mayonnaise mixture (recipe below).
Sour Cream and Mayonnaise Topping:
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup real mayonnaise
Combine until well blended in a small bowl. Serve atop BLT soup.