It’s been bitter cold in Chicago (and most of the rest of the country) the past few days. So cold that one of my Facebook friends posted a picture of an icicle on her eyelash – for real. And of course on the coldest day of the winter thus far, I spent all day running errands with the kids in tow. We were all frozen by the time we got home so I knew only my most favorite comfort food would do the trick to warm our bellies and thaw us out.
I’m a big fan of the gelatinous goo that comes out of the can. In my world, there’s nothing better than a big bowl of Campbell’s served with Kraft American cheese on white bread. But some days, it’s nice to be a grown up and eat food that is a bit more real.
This soup definitely hit the spot. It had a rich, smoky undertone due to the bacon (BACON!). The Fruitaholic happily slurped down 2 bowls, even after telling me that he doesn’t like tomato soup. I didn’t change much about the recipe. I added an extra slice of bacon so that I’d have some to garnish the soup with, and I added a couple of carrots to up the veggie factor. I substituted popcorn for the croutons because I had some on hand and thought they added a nice crunch. I didn’t use the creme fraiche but didn’t feel as though I was missing anything by not including it, but feel free to garnish as you see fit.
- 5 Slices Thick Cut Bacon, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp. Butter
- 4 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
- 1 Onion, chopped
- 3 Carrots, chopped
- 3 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
- 1 Tbsp. Flour
- 4 Cups Chicken Stock
- 2 Sprigs Thyme
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 28 oz. Can Whole, Peeled Tomatoes in Juice, crushed by hand (I used San Marzano)
- 1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
- Snipped Chives, for garnish
- Popped Popcorn, for garnish (I used Trader Joe's Popcorn with Herbs and Spices)
Add chopped bacon to a large saucepan and heat over medium until fat has rendered and bacon is crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove a spoonful or two of the bacon and set aside to use for garnish.
Increase the temperature to medium-high and add the butter. When melted, add the garlic, onion and carrot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Add the flour, stir until combined, and cook an additional 2 minutes.
Add the chicken stock, thyme, bay lea and tomatoes. Bring to a boil then reduce temperature to medium-low. Cook until slightly reduced, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth then stir in the cream.
Garnish individual bowls with reserved bacon bits, popcorn and chives.
The Jey of Cooking | http://www.thejeyofcooking.com
There are only three little words that you need to read in this post, so if you skip right to the recipe (or right to the store) upon hearing them, I totally understand.
BACON. TOMATO. BUTTER.
Holy cow. It’s a well known fact that I would drop the Husby in a second were it legal (and not at all weird) to marry bacon, so how was I never aware that such smoky, buttery goodness existed before now? Swooooon.
Until I came across this recipe, I had six or seven tabs open of possibilities to make from Amy’s blog, What’s Brewing in the Kitchen, for the Blogger’s Choice Swap. But once I found this one, all others were cast aside to be made at a later date. I needed this in my life immediately.
I obviously really enjoyed this meal, while the Husby liked it, but claimed it tasted “a bit dark.” I do think I overcooked the bacon just a bit but that was due to the Fruitaholic’s bad timing of needing me for something. Next time, I might add just a splash of sherry to the butter mixture for a little bit more flavor.
Oh, and if you’re not a fan of fish, I can see this working wonderfully with chicken or steak instead! Because really, when does bacon NOT make things better?
Tilapia with Bacon Tomato Butter.
- 2 Cups Water
- 1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
- 2 tsp. Sugar
- 4 Tilapia Filets
- 4 Slices Uncooked Bacon, finely chopped (I do this with kitchen shears)
- 1 Clove Garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp. Smoked Paprika
- 1 Pint Cherry or Grape Tomatoes, halved
- 2 Tbsp. Butter
Combine the water, kosher salt and sugar in a shallow baking dish. Mix until dissolved. Add the tilapia and let stand 20 minutes.
Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped bacon and cook 3-5 minutes until almost crisp. Add the garlic and cook an additional two minutes, stirring frequently. Add the paprika and stir for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook until just softened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Transfer the bacon tomato butter to a small bowl.
Return skillet to medium heat. Remove the fish from the water mixture and pat dry with paper towels. Cook the tilapia fillets 3-5 minutes per side.
Transfer the tilapia to plates, then top with the bacon tomato butter, about 2 Tbsp. per filet.
The Jey of Cooking | http://www.thejeyofcooking.com
Whenever the Husby and I get a date night, there’s a pretty good possibility you’ll find us at a steakhouse. Sure, we sometimes try out that hot new restaurant that opened a year ago but haven’t had a chance to go to yet, but at a steakhouse, we are almost always guaranteed a good, solid meal. We love steak, but rarely do I ever make it at home. So I was thrilled when I got Jessy’s Steak Marsala recipe for the Special Occasion swap. Steak at home, eaten at my own dining room table (ok, on the couch in front of the tv) and we don’t even need a babysitter? Count me in. I drool over most of the recipes Jessy posts, so I knew this would be a winning dish.
It’s not so often that we get to have date nights lately, so this was a nice way to spend some quality time with each other, no special occasion necessary.
Steak Marsala – slightly adapted from Gourmet Day to Day
- 4 Cuts of Steak (I used sirloin), about 6-8 oz. each
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 8 Slices Thick Sliced Bacon
- 2 Cups Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced
- 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1 Shallot, minced
- 1 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
- 1 1/2 Cups Marsala Wine
- 1 Lemon, juiced
- 5 Tbsp Butter, room temperature and sliced into Tbsps.
- Chopped Fresh Parsley, for topping
Pat the steaks dry with a paper towel then season both sides evenly with salt and pepper. Heat a cast iron grill pan over high heat. Add the steaks to the pan and cook 6 minutes, then flip and cook an additional 5-6 minutes for medium rare. Adjust according to your preferred level of doneness. Transfer the steaks to a plate and cover with foil. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium. Using kitchen shears, snip the bacon into small pieces and add to the pan. Brown until crispy. Transfer the bacon pieces to a paper towel lined plate, reserving the drippings in the pan. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and saute until they release their moisture and begin to shrink, about 5 minutes. Add the shallots and garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes before adding the tomato paste. Stir to coat, then return the bacon to the pan.
Take the skillet off of the heat and add the marsala, then return to heat, stir and allow the sauce to thicken and reduce by half, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice. Add one tablespoon of butter at a time, stirring and allowing each piece to melt before adding the next.
Serve a generous portion of the sauce over the steaks. Garnish with parsley.