Monday, December 19, 2011

Delights of December Day 19 ~ Christmas Eve Soup

I've been making this soup for probably 30 years or more. It all started years ago when I decided we needed some simple traditions for our own family -- not just going to Grandma's on the big day, but something especially our own. We decided to have a simple meal on Christmas Eve -- when we started, we invited grandparents and other close family, but now it is down to just us, sometimes my dad, and any available children and grandchildren. The menu I chose that first year was this soup, muffins or biscuits, and, for dessert, ambrosia with Christmas cookies. Over the years, many things have changed -- the past couple of years I've eliminated the ambrosia in favor of ice cream, and some years we have cheese pizza instead of bread -- but this soup is a constant. I thought I would share the recipe a few days early in case anyone else would like to try this for Christmas Eve. So here it is:

6 cups sliced potatoes
1 cup sliced carrots
6 slices bacon
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup sliced celery
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups milk
2 cups half & half cream
Finely shredded cheddar cheese
Parsley sprigs

Cook potatoes and carrots in boiling water until tender; drain. Saute bacon until crisp in skillet. Drain on paper towels; crumble. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat. Saute the onion and celery in the reserved bacon fat until tender but not brown.
Combine potatoes, carrots, onion mixture, salt, pepper, and cream in a large kettle or Dutch oven. Simmer for 30 minutes; do not boil.

Garnish with shredded cheddar , parsley sprigs and the crumbled bacon.

Serves 4 to 6.

(Note:  Sometimes I just saute the onion and celery in canola oil, butter, or bacon fat, then add the potatoes, carrots and water and cook till the vegetables are done.  Then I add the cream ~ fat-free half & half works fine ~ and just sprinkle purchased bacon bits over the soup when serving.  The taste is pretty much the same, and it's quite a bit easier.)

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