Spoiler alert ~ it’s bacon. My Creamy Brussels Sprout and Bacon Soup is a comforting meal for a chilly night ~ just add a simple salad, a hunk of whole grain bread, and a glass of wine. Love is definitely in the air.
This thick chowder features Brussels sprouts ~ those irresistible little mini cabbages that are the highlight of my winter ~ but some of the credit for this luscious soup has to go to the shallots, cream, sharp cheese aaaaaaaaaand, bacon. Lots of it.
This creamy Brussels sprout and bacon soup is serious comfort food for seriously hungry folks. The bacon in this recipe makes it a little bit decadent, too. I cook up a whole package and save it until the very end to add it on top of the soup ~ that way it stays nice and crispy and makes such a nice contrast with the creamy soup.
Brussels sprouts grow in the most amazing manner ~ in a spiral pattern along a huge stalk. Every once in a while I’ll see them sold that way at my supermarket and I get really excited. There’s nothing fresher than plucking your sprouts off the actual stalk.
Brussels sprouts are a true winter veggie, they actually get sweeter after a frost, so I love to weave them into my recipes during these months.
Brussels sprouts inspire strong feelings in people, I’ve talked about that before in my Creamed Brussels Sprout Gratin post. Most people who say they hate them have just never had them prepared properly.
TIP: I concentrate the flavor of this soup by roasting the Brussels sprouts rather than boiling them. This only takes about 30 minutes, and is well worth the effort. If I’m using the sprouts as a side dish, this is how I do it 90% of the time. The high heat caramelizes them and intensifies their flavor.
Whether you boil, steam, or roast your sprouts, the key is not to over do it, and preserve a little of that wonderful color and texture.
TIP: To remove delicate Brussels sprout leaves for a garnish, trim the stem end off a raw sprout and gently peel off the leaves starting from the bottom. Use them raw as a garnish, or toss lightly in olive oil and roast the individual leaves for an incredible crispy snack!
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts
- olive oil for drizzling
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- 12 ounces bacon, snipped or chopped into 1/2 inch dice
- 2 large shallots (about 1/2 cup chopped)
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup cream or half and half
- 1 heaping cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- Set oven to 375F
- Wash and trim the stems from the sprouts. Cut them in half, or in quarters if they are very large. Drizzle them with olive oil, and then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
- Roast the sprouts for about 20-30 minutes, just until they have softened and have taken on a little color. Stir them around on the pan a few times during cooking. Set aside.
- Cook the bacon until crispy in a large soup pot. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Leave about 3 Tbsp of the bacon fat in the pan and add the shallots. Saute them for about 5 minutes, until they are softened, don't let them brown.
- Add the chicken stock and the sprouts to the pan, and bring up to a simmer. Cook gently for 5 minutes.
- Working in batches, puree the soup. I used my food processor, but if you prefer a chunkier texture you could use an immersion blender. Return the pureed soup to the pot.
- Add the cream to the soup and reheat to a simmer. Taste to adjust the salt and pepper, and then, once the soup is nice and hot, remove from the heat and add the cheeses, slowly, and stir until it is completely melted.
- Serve hot with a good helping of crisp bacon in the center.
- This soup will thicken after refrigerating, so add more stock to thin it down when you reheat.
- Don’t be tempted to use frozen Brussels sprouts for this soup ~ they contain minimal flavor and you won’t be able to roast them. Brussels sprouts are available at most stores throughout the winter.