Saturday, June 4, 2011

Bacon n' Grits Egg Drop Soup

After eating leftover gumbo for breakfast the other day; I began lamenting about how Americans, as a whole, don’t eat soup for breakfast. Most soups make wonderful filling and very nutritious breakfasts, even my favorite Chef, Author and foodie extraordinaire Anthony Bourdain often sings the praises of soup for breakfast on his show and in his books. All this started me thinking, soup basically began as a simple peasant food, a way to stretch what little food was available.
Thinking along this line I started thinking how many Western European breakfast foods began the same way. People would make use of what they had, when times were good they would eat things like last night’s stale bread toasted and buttered, served with fresh fried eggs, from their own chickens, maybe some fried cured meats. In harder times they would mainly eat boiled ground corn, or wheat, or oats designed fill you up for a hard day in the fields.
That brief history finally brings us to the recipe, I thought about my favorite soup using eggs, the classic peasant dish Egg Drop soup, a great use of eggs and very filling. After the soup I thought about what classic American “peasant” foods were usually served with eggs, Grits of course, and you always need Bacon to accompany any meal of eggs and grits. With that said this dish is perfectly pure Southern American breakfast combined with a classic Asian soup. After serving it up this morning to my “trusted panel of taste testers”, The wife said it was good, and my daughter Abby agreed when she said “Mmm.. t’s good soup!” she’s such a foodie and has always been a fan of fusion cuisine.
What You Need:
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup cream or half/half (optional, can substitute 1 cup stock)
4 eggs, lightly beaten + 1 tbls water
1 pkg Bacon sliced or roughly chopped (about 1lb)
1 tbls vegetable oil
2 tbls butter
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 tbls dried parsley (or 1/4 cup fresh can be added right before serving)
Salt and pepper (white if you have it) to taste
1/4 to 1/2 cup finely grated sharp cheese (like cheddar or parmesan)
How It's Done:
In wide soup pot heat oil, add the Bacon, fry till done, remove bacon to drain leaving behind a little bacon fat in the pot. (Setting aside ¼ cup for garnish)
*While bacon is cooking prepare as 3 servings (about 3 cups prepared) instant grits as directed in a separate pot/bowl.
Return soup pot to medium heat, once heated add onion and sauté 2 min, add mushrooms cook 1 additional min
Add the Stock and bring to a boil. Add the pepper, salt, and parsley. Cook for about another minute. (Taste it, then season to taste)
This is the only tricky part, once rolling boil is going turn off the burner and remove pot from heat.
Very slowly pour in the eggs in a steady stream (beating the egg in a liquid measuring cup makes this much easier). To make the ribbons, stir the egg gently in a clockwise direction until they form.
Once ribbons have formed add Grits (best to add while before completely set up) and Bacon stir until thoroughly combined. As the soup sits the grits will continue to thicken if you like a thiner soup eat right away, if you like a thicker soup simmer extra 10-15 min. Yields: about 5-7 cups soup.
Serve in bowls and garnish cheese and Bacon, and some buttered toast. This soup is VERY filling, so good luck finishing a bowl, and is best on a cold day.
As a variation you can always add items like fresh sliced mushrooms, celery, peppers, summer squash, etc. Anything you like in an omelet would probably taste good in this soup.

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