Our recent 91 Point score from Wine Enthusiast for our 2017 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir truly warms our hearts during these chilly days. So it feels appropriate to celebrate the news with a heart-warming recipe from gastronaut and author Bob Blumer – the third installment of our blog series, as we raise a toast to his new cookbook, Flavorbomb!
Pinot Noir is a classic holiday meal pairing as it’s so versatile the many holiday dishes that can land on one table. We also have a lot of nostalgic memories of sipping our Pinot Noir with family and friends during the holidays. This is why we thought a classic recipe like Blumer’s Cream of Nostalgia Soup with Bacon & Grilled Cheese was the perfect pairing to celebrate with.
CLICK HERE to order our 2017 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir or gift our Flavorbomb Your Holidays Collection!
Cream of Nostalgia Soup with Bacon & Grilled Cheese
- 1 Head garlic
- 12 Strips best-available bacon about ½ pound
- 2 tablespoons Butter
- 1 Small yellow onion diced
- ½ Fennel bulb cored and chopped, or 3 celery stalks
- 1 Carrot chopped
- 3 tablespoons Flour
- 1 – 28 ounce Can tomatoes whole or chopped
- 5 cups Best-available chicken stock
- 1 Bouquet garnis with 6 sprigs fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme and 2 bay leaves, broken.
- 2 teaspoons Harissa
- Salt and pepper
- ¼ – ½ cup Heavy cream optional
- Preheat toaster oven or oven to 400°F.
- Slice the pointy top off garlic to expose each of the cloves. Set on a piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in the foil. Roast until cloves are lightly browned and tender, about 50 minutes. Reserve.
- In a large pot, cook bacon until crispy. Remove bacon and all but roughly 1 tablespoon bacon fat. Reserve bacon.
- To the pot, over medium-high heat, add butter, onion, fennel and carrot. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until vegetables start to brown. Add flour and stir constantly for 1 minute, allowing the flour to brown slightly (this thickens the soup in the same way that a roux is used to thicken gumbo). Add tomatoes along with all the juices, stock, 10 strips of bacon, and bouquet garnis.Simmer for 30 minutes. Let soup cool, remove bouquet garnis and squeeze out remaining juices back into the pot. Squeeze roasted garlic cloves directly into the pot and add harissa.Purée soup in a blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. The soup is plenty rich and creamy as is, but if you really want to go for the gusto, finish with cream or drizzle a bit over top before serving.Serve in warmed soup bowls. Crumble remaining bacon over top.For the grilled cheese sandwich (per sandwich) 2 slices sourdough loaf2 slices cave-aged Gruyere cheese, or any Gruyere, or emmental2 tablespoons mayonnaiseMake a cheese sandwich, then spread the outside of each side with mayonnaise. Grill in a panini makeror a frying pan until well-browned and crispy.