Bacon and Egg Soup
I'd love a better title for this soup. I mean - it just doesn't sound very appealing. But when I heard about it for the first time I was fascinated - I mean, it's built around bacon, always a good idea. Chicken broth, onion, croutons - ok. And the egg part is a poached egg - which is one of the lovelier things on this earth.
I read a couple of variations, and of course had to tweak it. I used homemade croutons, with leftover French Bread - so that was good. And I added spinach for color and body - baby spinach for a delicate flavor. The result - wow! It was like my inner ECG (Evil Culinary Genius) had recognized the potential here despite my odd misgivings. Ambivalence resolved!
What was really awesome - this would work not only for a light meal, but for a rockin' cool brunch or breakfast - especially if you want to make someone thing you really bomb the kitchen. Cause it's simplicity itself. Gotta admit though - avant garde, huh?
- 1/2 pound of slab bacon, diced
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
- 4 eggs
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups French or Italian bread, cut into cubes
- 1 Tbl olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Grated Parmesan and freshly chopped parsley to garnish
- In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook diced bacon until crispy. Set aside. Drain off almost all the grease, reserving just a teaspoon or two.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350F.
- Lay bread cubes out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning - if it tastes good now, it'll be great when toasted. Toss the bread cubes well, until they are evenly coated.
- Bake the croutons until they are golden brown and toasty - they'll be amazingly fragrant when done, and you'll have a hard time not burning your mouth sneaking a few. This takes about 15-20 minutes.
- Once you've removed the bacon and drained the grease from the Dutch oven, toss in the onion and garlic. Stir well, scraping up the brown yummy stuff off the bottom of the pan. Cook until translucent and fragrant, about 8-10 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Add spinach, cooking for just a moment or two.
- Crack eggs one at a time into a bowl, then slip them into the barely simmering broth to poach. Poach the eggs in the broth for about 5 minutes, until the white are set but the yolks are still soft and runny.
- To serve, place a poached egg in a bowl, and top with the broth. Sprinkle on the crispy reserved bacon and a handful of croutons. Sprinkle a little Parmesan and fresh parsley on each bowl. Serve immediately.
My only big hint with this simple rustic soup is to serve it right away. The longer the broth sits the darker it becomes - and the spinach will go from tender to downright slimy. So throw it together at the last minute - and you'll fall in love.
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