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Bay Harbor Cheese Soup

Northern Michigan Foodie: Karen Williams, chef owner of Galley Gourmet in Bay Harbor near Petoskey shares her soup recipe featuring Michigan-made Grassfields Lamont Cheddar Cheese.

Read more about the recipe.

Ingredients

4    ounces unsalted butter6    strips bacon
2    cups onion, rough chopped
2    cups leeks
2    cups celery, rough chopped
1    head garlic, peeled
4    cups Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
and chopped
6    cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
2    teaspoons salt
2    cups Grassfields Lamont Cheddar, grated    Salt and pepper as needed

Cut the bacon crosswise into thin strips.  Trim away the green part of the leeks and cut away the root end. Cut in quarters lengthwise and then slice. Place leeks in a bowl  and cover with cold water, enough to float the leeks.In an appropriately sized pot, melt the butter until it begins to foam.  Add the bacon and cook until the bacon is browned and crispy.  Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.
Add the onion and leeks (remove the leeks from the water with your hands so that any dirt will remain at the bottom of the bowl of water). Cook, stirring occasionally, until they become soft and begin to turn opaque. Add the celery and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and garlic. Add the chicken stock and the salt. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer.  Cook until potatoes are tender. About 30 to 40 minutes. Add the cheese. Puree in a food processor or with an immersion blender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with reserved bacon.
Serving Ideas: Try serving soup in small espresso cups or decorative shooters as an amuse-bouche before dinner or as a hot appetizer for parties. Use any leftover soup as a sauce under pan-roasted salmon.Notes: This hearty winter soup would pair well with a full-bodied chardonnay, such as Chateau Grand Traverse 2008 barrel fermented Chardonnay.

Preparation

Cut the bacon crosswise into thin strips.  Trim away the green part of the leeks and cut away the root end. Cut in quarters lengthwise and then slice. Place leeks in a bowl  and cover with cold water, enough to float the leeks. In an appropriately sized pot, melt the butter until it begins to foam.  Add the bacon and cook until the bacon is browned and crispy.  Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.

Add the onion and leeks (remove the leeks from the water with your hands so that any dirt will remain at the bottom of the bowl of water). Cook, stirring occasionally, until they become soft and begin to turn opaque. Add the celery and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and garlic. Add the chicken stock and the salt. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer.  Cook until potatoes are tender. About 30 to 40 minutes. Add the cheese. Puree in a food processor or with an immersion blender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with reserved bacon. Serving Ideas: Try serving soup in small espresso cups or decorative shooters as an amuse-bouche before dinner or as a hot appetizer for parties. Use any leftover soup as a sauce under pan-roasted salmon.

Notes: This hearty winter soup would pair well with a full-bodied chardonnay, such as Chateau Grand Traverse 2008 barrel fermented Chardonnay.