The top complaint I hear about soup is that it’s “not a meal,” and perhaps some of them aren’t. It’s true that some soups are watery and pathetic, but there’s an easy solution: If your soup is broth-based, chuck more stuff in there; if your soup is of the creamy puréed persuasion (or a chowder), blend some stuff in there.
My love for blending stuff into soups is fairly well-documented, especially when the stuff is burnt onions, but vegetables aren’t the only thing you can whir into creamy pot of soup. At the risk of going full Epic Bacon, I am going to suggest you get meaty with it and blend cooked bacon right into your soup.
That’s right, we’re using meat as seasoning. We’ve done it before—remember charcuterie in the marinara?—and I don’t see why we can’t do it again. A couple strips of bacon, blended into a pot of soup, will give it a smoky, salty, and meaty character without obscuring the other ingredients. Double that, and cured meat will be one of the primary tasting notes. (This is not bad—split pea tastes strongly of ham, and it is a great soup.)
I do not recommend blending bacon (or anything really) into a brothy soup, like any of the noodles soups, but chowders and anything in the “cream of” genre is fair game. For a four-serving batch of soup, chop up two to four strips of bacon into one-inch pieces. Fry them until crisp, then remove the bacon from the grease and let drain on paper towels. Cook your vegetables and aromatics in the bacon fat like you usually would, the proceed with your soup recipe. When you get to the blending stage, add the bacon along with all of the other ingredients and blend, baby, blend. It works particularly well in a corn or potato chowder, but I wouldn’t hate it in a homemade cream of mushroom, or a store-bought cream of anything that needed a little boost.
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