Bacon Potato Soup
(made with vinegars from American Vinegar Works)
Warming and comforting… you will love this potato soup anytime during the year! This recipe focuses on just a few ingredients and is brothier than many.
- ¼ lb (~6 slices) of thick bacon, ideally wood smoked
- 1 small to medium red onion
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup of AVW Beer Malt Vinegar
- 2 quarts of chicken broth
- 4 medium red potatoes
- 1 parmesan rind
- 2 tablespoons of AVW Ultimate Red Wine Vinegar
- Black pepper
- Use an enameled cast iron Dutch oven or other heavy stock pot that can accommodate at least 4.5 or 5 quarts and has a lid.
- Cut bacon slices into ¼ inch mini strips, add to pot, and cook on low heat. You do not need crispy bacon but do want the fat to render and the bacon to begin to brown. Cook slowly on low heat to allow rendering and prevent burning. Stir bacon to allow the pieces to separate from each other and cook evenly.
- Peel and quarter the onion. Then thinly slice each quarter. Add to pot. Once bacon has fully rendered, add to pot and stir.
- Add thyme sprigs and bays leaves to pot. Stir and cover the pot to sweat and wilt onions about 5 minutes.
- Uncover, stir, and cook onions on low to medium heat. You don’t have to fully caramelize the onions if you don’t have time, but you should cook them low and slow for at least 10 more minutes stirring every few minutes. The onions should be fully wilted and cooked but be mindful not to burn.
- Add IPA Beer Malt Vinegar and scrape the bottom of the pan to completely dissolve the fond (i.e. the brown bits at the bottom of the pan from the bacon and caramelizing onions).
- Add chicken broth.
- Add parmesan rind.
- Wash the potatoes. Leave on the skin but remove any tough patches or scars. Quarter the potatoes. Slice each quarter into pieces that are a little less than a ¼ inch thick. Carefully add the potatoes to stock pot (watch the backsplash).
- Turn up heat slightly. Once pot starts to bubble turn down the heat and let the soup simmer slowly until potatoes are tender and cooked (but not falling apart). This will take around 25 minutes depending on your potatoes and stove top setting. Stir every few minutes.
- Once potatoes are cooked (you can taste test pieces) take the back of a wooden spoon and carefully mash some of the potato pieces against the walls of the stock pot. Stir. This is optional but it will slightly thicken the broth and contribute to a nicer soup. This soup will still be more brothy than thick.
- Add Red Wine Vinegar and some fresh ground black pepper to the soup and stir. Taste and adjust salt as needed (IF needed) before serving.
- Salt: You will notice that no salt is added to this soup. This is because the bacon, broth, and parmesan will all be adding salt—and the vinegar acid helps compensate for salt as well. If you need to add salt do it only at the end after letting all the ingredients come together.
- Thyme: The leaves will fall in the stock by themselves and you can just pick out and remove the stems at the end of cooking the way you would the bay leaves.
- Parmesan rind: If you haven’t cooked with these before they add a wonderful savory flavor to soups and stocks. They are exactly what they sound like—the left-over hard rinds from parmesan cheese you grate. Some grocery stores and specialty shops also sell the rinds (at a discount) if you don’t have any and don’t want to wait to make the soup. You can start keeping these rinds in your fridge for eventual use. A paper bag is best to prevent molding.