Sweet Beet and Apple Soup with Boar Bacon, Walnut and Apple Topping2013-02-04
- Serves: 6
- Prep Time: 15m
- Cook Time: 60m
- Ready In: 1:15 h
- 6 tbsp Walnuts, Whole
- 4 Strips Boar Bacon
- 6 tbsp Dried Apple Rings, Diced
- 1 tsp reserved Bacon Fat
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1/2 Onion, Diced
- 2-3 Carrots, Diced
- 4 Celery Stalks, Diced
- 3 Large Beets, Peeled and Diced into 1-inch cubes
- 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
- 3 Granny Smith Apples, Peeled, Cored and Diced into 1-inch cubes
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Ground Ginger
- 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
- 1 Cup Riesling Wine
- 3 1/2 cups Low-Sodium Vegetable Stock (add more if you prefer a thinner soup)
- 2 cups Apple Cider
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
Preheat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add the walnuts and cook until they appear lightly toasted and smell rich and nutty, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and chop coarsely. Set aside.
Arrange the boar bacon strips in a large heavy bottomed pot. Heat pot to medium- low and cook until very the bacon is crispy, draining (and reserving) fat if more than two tablespoons build up in the pan. Once cooked, transfer to a plate lined with paper towels, and allow to cool. Pouring out all but a teaspoon of the boar fat and don't wash the pot! Once the bacon is cool enough to touch, crumble it into small bits.
If serving the soup that day, mix together the bacon, walnut pieces and apple ring pieces and set aside. If you're preparing this a day ahead, keep all three bits separate, refrigerate the bacon and keep the nuts and apples in separate air-sealed containers/baggies at room temperature. Take the bacon out about 20 minutes before serving, and then mix them together.
Heat the reserved bacon fat (already in the pot) and the olive oil in that large heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add in the onion, carrots and celery and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened.
Toss in the beet pieces and allow to gently caramelize for about another 5 minutes. Toss in the garlic, and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Then add the apples, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and cook an additional 2-3 minutes, until all of the spices awaken and the apples begin to soften slightly.
Deglaze the pan with the Riesling wine, and increase the heat to high as you scrape up all the bits on the bottom of the pan.
Pour in the stock and cider, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 40 minutes, or until the beets are very tender (pretty much falling apart when you pierce them).
Transfer the soup to a stand blender and puree until very smooth. Strain it through a chinois back into your pot to remove any residual bits and pieces. Taste, and season with salt and pepper, as necessary.
Now you can either refrigerate for a day until ready to reheat and eat, or you can serve the soup right away.
When ready to serve, ladle a few good spoonfuls into your serving bowls, and top with about 3 tablespoons of the mixed topping.