Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Champagne Brie Soup

Cheese and crackers are the bane of my existence.  Nothing is guaranteed to sabotage my diet like those chunks of pure fat placed on crunchy disks of pure carbs.  Nuts and chips and chocolate all present a certain temptation, but it's one I can usually avoid.  When it's cheese and crackers, however, I'm a goner.  I think I'm an addict.  I was at a party on Saturday night and devoured not only the cheese tray, but when dessert came, I discovered that creamy Gorgonzola on shortbread is as decadent as it is delicious.  I gained three pounds in one freaking day.  Nor am I a snob for the higher end cheeses and crackers.  When I really need a fix, I've been know to snarf down saltines and plastic-wrapped American cheese slices.  It isn't pretty.

I suppose you think that right about here I'm going to wow you with some delicious new substitute for cheese and crackers that I learned in some 12-step program.  You are expecting that I scoured the world web of recipes and have discovered the Holy Grail--an hors d'oeuvres that pairs beautifully with wine, tastes amazing, and has negative calories.  OK, two out of three isn't bad.  Today I offer champagne brie soup.  On a cold night, this soup, which blends butter, heavy cream and a full pound of melted brie is a religious experience.  What can I say? The beauty of this dish is that it is so absolutely, positively laden with fat and calories that by comparison, cheese and crackers is downright healthy.  I have to justify my addiction somehow.  Just like methadone is better than heroin, cheese and crackers is better than champagne brie soup.  Hey--whatever it takes to support my habit.

Champagne Brie Soup

1.  Melt 2 sticks of butter over low heat.

2.   Add 1/2 cup flour and beat with a whisk.   This is called a roux.  It is very very fattening.

3.  Add 1 cup chopped onion and 1/2 cup chopped celery and saute until the onions are translucent and the celery is tender; about 3-5 minutes.

4.  Add 1/2 tsp white pepper and 1/2 tsp. red pepper.   Actually measure these out.  I don't know why, but each time I've guesstimated the soup has turned out too spicy or too bland, and when I measure, it's perfect.  Weird; it's not like this is baking.

5.  Add 4 cups of chicken broth and turn to high heat.  Don't let the chicken broth fool you.  There is nothing remotely healthy about this soup.

Remove the rind.  It tastes like chalk.

6.  Remove the rind from a one-pound wheel of brie.  Cut the brie into small cubes and stir constantly until melted.  Yeah baby. 

7.  Lower the heat and add 2 cups of heavy cream and 1/2 cup of champagne.

8.  Continue to simmer until heated through and serve. 

You can make this soup up to 2 days ahead of time, but wait until just before serving to add the cream and the champagne.  This really is a lovely soup to have on hand for the holidays.  If I have a batch on hand, you are welcome to stop by for a cup.  The first one's free.

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