J J's Smoked Gouda Vegetable Soup
- 10 strips bacon, diced
- 1 1/2 cups sliced onion
- 2 or more cloves garlic, mashed and chopped
- 2 carrots, cut in half lengthwise and sliced
- 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced (or crushed) tomatoes (do not drain)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini or Great Northern beans (do not drain)
- 2 roasted red peppers, sliced
- 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans chicken broth
- 1 small zucchini, sliced and chopped in large pieces
- 1 small yellow squash, sliced and chopped in large pieces
- 2 large leaves fresh basil, chopped
- 12 leaves fresh oregano, chopped
- 12 (1/2-inch) slices French baguette
- Vegetable cooking spray
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to taste
- Hungarian paprika to taste (optional)
- 1/2 cup smoked Gouda cheese, diced
Render bacon slowly in nonstick skillet over medium-low heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserve for garnish, and heat fat on medium-low. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic and continue cooking until onions are translucent. Do not allow garlic to burn. Transfer onions and garlic to a soup pot. Add carrots, tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the beans, red peppers, chicken broth, zucchini, and yellow squash. Bring to a boil. Add basil and oregano. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Five minutes before serving, add Gouda cheese to soup and allow a few minutes for cheese to soften. Ladle soup into serving bowls. Sprinkle reserved bacon over top. Place 2 slices of toast per serving on top of soup.
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