This time of year it is definitely feeling like soup weather more and more. The leaves are almost all on the ground, waiting for my son to jump in them and throw them everywhere, we’re dodging acorns falling when we’re in the park and we need to negotiate on a few more layers when we go out. We have a number of favorite soups, like roast tomato soup and various root vegetable varieties like this one, while others we have less often but still thoroughly enjoy. Some of that is based on the vegetables we tend to keep in the house – some vegetables I just don’t tend to buy often or get in our box. That’s the case for this bacon and Brussel sprout soup, but often after making this soup, it’s tempting to go straight back to the supermarket to get more to make another batch.
An un-loved veg
Brussel sprouts are a bit of an underrated vegetable, often being one that people at least are not a fan of, if not really hate. But I think they’re maybe largely a victim of having so often been poorly cooked – especially if you are British you have probably had them overcooked and bland at one too many Christmas meals. They do have more to offer, though, such as raw in a slaw or in a soup like this. Even if you are not normally a Brussel sprout fan I would encourage you to give this soup a try as it’s so hearty and delicious and really not that sprout-like. Plus there’s bacon, which can only be a good thing.
How it’s made
This bacon and Brussel sprout soup is very quick and easy to make, you simply cook the bacon and onion together until the onions softens, add the potato and Brussel sprouts, let them sweat and color then add the stock. Cook a few more minutes, puree and that’s it. Well, that’s it apart form the topping which to me is essential to really make this soup special rather than just another nice hearty soup – fry some more bacon and pieces of chestnut for a few minutes until they crisp then scatter them on top. You then get a lovely little bit of crisp deliciousness with each mouthful as you eat.
A way to use leftovers
Bacon and Brussel sprout soup is also be a great soup to use up leftovers, as you can just as easily make this starting with cooked Brussel sprouts and potatoes, you just skip the part where you sweat the veg and you don’t need to simmer the soup as long either, maybe just 5 minutes or so. Don’t worry about being too precise on the amount of each vegetable or the bacon, you just want roughly equal amounts of Brussel sprouts and potatoes, and it wouldn’t matter if you had some chestnuts in there too if you had leftovers from this recipe. Just add enough stock to almost cover the vegetables, and add a little more if needed after you puree them to get the thickness you prefer.
This soup has a lovely creamy texture and is full of rich bacony flavor alongside the tasty vegetables. The crisp bacon and chestnut on top give a little saltiness and sweetness as you scoop up the soup itself. It’s wonderfully warming and just the thing as temperatures drop. I know I’ll be making a point of getting some more Brussel sprouts to make it again soon.
- 3 slices of (streaky) smoked bacon
- ½ small-medium onion
- 9oz/250g potatoes
- 9oz/250g Brussel sprouts
- 1½cups/360ml stock (chicken or vegetable), possibly a little more
- ¼tsp ground nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- To top -
- 4 slices of (streaky) bacon, in small slices
- approx 6 cooked chestnuts, broken into chunks
- Cut the bacon into slices and put into a pan over a medium heat. Dice the onion and once the fat starts to render from the bacon, add the onion to the pan. Cook, stirring regularly for 2-3 minutes.
- Meanwhile peel the potatoes and dice. Take the outer layer and ends off the Brussel sprouts and cut in half. Add both to the pan, stir, then cover and reduce heat slightly.
- Allow the vegetables to sweat for around 10min until the potato is tender to a knifepoint, stirring occasionally. Don't worry if things stick to the bottom of the pan and color a bit, it all adds to the flavor, just don't let them burn.
- Add the stock, nutmeg and some salt and pepper to taste to the pan (bear in mind you have bacon in there so you won't need much salt). Cover and bring to a boil then simmer for around 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, put the bacon for the topping in a small skillet/frying pan and cook over a medium heat. Once the fat starts to render, add the chestnuts. Continue to cook until both are crispy, stirring now and then.
- Remove the soup pan from the heat and puree the soup in a blender/with an immersion blender.
- Serve the soup with the crispy bacon and chestnuts on top.