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Warm Heart, Hot Hands - Jalapeño Popper Soup

So, my honey is watching football, a game I have tried for many years to fathom, unsuccessfully. But what I do know about it is there’s supposed to be “game food,” you know - fried stuff with cheese, creamy dippy things, carby, salty, crunchy things, and well, beer. Not typically the kind of fare I take delight in creating.

But, in life and in relationships

Jalapeno popper soup - hot and satisfying

, it’s all about compromise, right? This is my compromise, and it’s not too shabby.

INGREDIENTS

4 slices bacon

4 oz cream cheese

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 chicken broth

2 tablespoons of your favorite salsa

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 sweet onion, diced small

3/4 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or cheddar)

4 large jalapeño peppers*

Salt and cracked black pepper

METHOD

First, broil or grill the jalapeños until the skin begins to blister. Turn them over and do the same to the other side.

Cover them in a bowl with a tight lid or seal with plastic wrap to steam the peppers. *If you don’t like spicy food, use 2 Poblano peppers instead of 4 jalapeños. I used the late red jalapeños from my garden, without gloves, and that cavalier attitude is not one I’m soon to forget. My hands are quite red and swollen, and I’m trying to remember not to touch my face or...anything else. I’m considering putting a reminder on my bathroom mirror. Cook the bacon in a medium saucepan until crisp – remove.

In the same pan, along with the bacon grease, add the onion and garlic and cook on medium low until translucent.

Add the heavy cream, broth and cream cheese.

Simmer gently, stirring often, until the cream cheese has melted and the liquid is smooth. It will take a while for the cream cheese to break down.

Whisk in the salsa and shredded cheeses until completely incorporated. Remove the skins and seeds on the peppers (with gloves!) and chop finely.

Add the peppers to the soup and cook for about 5 more minutes on low.

Season with salt.

Remove from heat. You can serve as is or use an immersion blender to completely incorporate the ingredients, as I did.

Serve garnished with chopped bacon and cracked pepper to taste. If you have any day old bread, croutons would also go well in this.

A nice cold lager would be great with the soup, but if you’re not a beer person, you can always do what I did and soak your hands in it for the rest of the game.

So much for compromise. The next game day dish will be Japanese Sea Urchin on toasted French Brioche with shaved black truffle.

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