It is mid-September in Minnesota and I can already feel the fall air beginning to creep in. Even though I love, love, love summer and I wait for it all year round, I have to admit, Minnesota fall is my spirit animal. I crave the crisp air, the painted leaves, the wool sweaters, the boots, the bonfires, and of course the foods like Grandma’s hotdish, hot creamy soup or spicy chili, and steaming mugs of fresh apple cider – all the hallmarks of this beautiful and beloved season in the midwest.
Unfortunately, for some (including my husband) the cooler weather also brings with it the season of fall colds and allergies. Lucky for him, I have the perfect remedy for his cold and for my fall food craving and that is steamy, creamy, delicious soup.
I love soup because you can make it from just about anything that happens to be in your refrigerator. Today, I’m making a pureed soup with red potatoes and onions I picked up at the farmers market, a pear (borrowed from my son’s fruit stash), and some bacon which I always have on hand in my freezer because….bacon. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Wait….a pear?” And to that I say, “YAAAASSSS!” What the pear does to this soup is bring a beautiful balance to the salty bacon and gives just that hint of sweetness that makes you say, “Mmmmmm, what was that?” Seriously, try it, you’ll like it.
The other thing that I really like about this soup, other than the fact that it’s freaking delicious, is that it is completely dairy free. Lactose intolerant friends rejoice! Even though this soup is creamy and will totally fool you into thinking that you’re eating something super heavy and naughty, the creaminess comes from the pureed potatoes and coconut cream. So if you are casein-challenged, dig on in friend, this Pureed Potato Bacon Soup with Caramelized Onion and Pear is for you.
Pureed Potato Bacon Soup with Caramelized Onion and Pear
Generously Serves 4
6-8 large red potatoes, peeled and diced
5 ribs celery, chopped
1 pear, seeded and diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbs. olive oil
1 qt. vegetable broth
1/2 c. white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
1/2 lb. bacon, slices cut into small pieces (I take the package and make several slices across)
1 lg. onion thinly sliced
1 can coconut cream (I use Trader Joe’s)
Salt and pepper to taste
Place first 5 ingredients with a generous pinch of salt in a medium-large pot over medium-high heat. Allow to saute until garlic becomes fragrant. Add white wine and then vegetable broth and continue simmering over medium until vegetables begin to break down, about 20-25 minutes.
While your vegetables are simmering, in a medium pan add the bacon and begin sauteing over medium heat. When the bacon is crispy, scoop out bacon and transfer to a paper towel lined plate, leaving the bacon grease in the pan. To the remaining bacon grease, add the onions and a pinch of salt and reduce heat to medium-low. Caramelizing onions can take a while (20-25 mins) so just continue occasionally stirring the onions until they are no longer white or translucent, but a beautiful deep brown color, then set aside.
Using an immersion blender (or in small batches in a regular blender) begin blending the vegetable broth mixture. Add in the bacon, onions, and remaining bacon grease (reserving some bacon and onions for garnish if you wish) and continue blending until smooth. Finally, add the can of coconut cream to the soup and mix until well combined. Be sure to taste and adjust for seasoning. Serve hot and enjoy with some delicious, crusty bread!!