I know what you’re thinking. Why make BLT soup when you can just eat a BLT sandwich?
I can sum it up in two words: Grilled Cheese.
See? Did you follow my logic? (And did you first have to wrap your mind around the possibility that SoupAddict has any logic? (Me, too!)
Or, to put it another way: what two sandwiches were made for — are soul mates with — soup?
BLTs and grilled cheese, right?
But, when was the last time you had both a BLT and a grilled cheese sandwich with the same bowl of soup? Never, ’cause it’s too much work, making soup and a BLT and a grilled cheese.
[Breaking into obnoxiously cheery infomercial voice] “But now you can have all three, with only 2/3rds of the work! That’s right: 33% less work! The secret is in the soup! It’s a BLT … but it’s soup! Which means you can have soup and a grilled cheese sandwich without missing out on the BLT!” [/end obnoxiously cheery voice]
[Scratches head] See?
“Dear SoupAddict: Your logic does not resemble our Earth logic.
“Dear Confused: That’s right, mine’s more, um, advanced! Yeah, that’s it, advanced!
Signed—and patiently waiting for the rest of the world to catch up to the brilliance of the BLT soup/grilled cheese sandwich combo—SoupAddict.”
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
4 slices bacon, uncooked, chopped (or 5 slices vegetarian substitute, chopped)
2 green onions, chopped
1 small sweet onion (Vidala, Walla Walla, etc.), diced
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 head boston lettuce, cored and chopped or grated
1/4 cup fine-milled all-purpose flour (such as the Wondra brand)
4 cups stock, chicken or vegetable
2 medium fresh, in-season tomatoes, peeled and diced, or (1) 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 dash crushed red pepper
2 bay leaves
1 cup whole milk or half and half
2 tablespoons creme fraiche or mayonnaise (mayo, if you like it sweeter)
1 tablespoon butter (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced
6 slices thick, crusty, country (day-old is fine)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. In a large stock pot or dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium until shimmering. Add bacon pieces and cook until it begins to brown. Add the green onions and onions cook until soft and translucent. Make sure the bacon has cooked to your desired crispness. Add the lettuce and stir well. When the lettuce begins to turn bright green, about a minute or two, add the flour and stir well into the other ingredients.
2. Add the stock, tomatoes, crushed red pepper and bay leaves. Turn heat to high and bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
3. Whisk the milk and creme fraiche in a small bowl. Add a ladle of soup into the diary mixture and whisk until smooth, then pour now-warmed dairy mixture into the soup, blending well. Top the soup with the butter (if using). Turn heat to low and allow butter to melt into soup before stirring.
4. Toast two of the bread slices in a toaster or under the broiler. Cut in half, and one half in the bottom of each of four soup bowls or large mugs.
5. Slice the remaining bread into large croutons (about 1/2″).
6. Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic and stir until fragrant (about a minute). Add croutons, and stir to coat in the garlic oil. Sprinkle a couple pinches of salt over croutons, and saute until toasted. Remove from heat.
7. Remove the bay leaves and give the soup one final stir, and ladle into the bread-lined bowls. Top each with the croutons.