An unusual cheese and vegetable soup topped with grilled bacon, fried bread and cheese, Boerenkaas Soep (BOO-run-kass soop) from the Netherlands, is a very filling starter or main dish.
2 oz. butter large leek, finely chopped large carrots, scraped and finely diced
1 large potato, peeled and finely diced
1 small cauliflower, trimmed, washed and separated into flowerets
2 celery stalks with their leaves, finely diced
1 ½ pints chicken stock
8 lean bacon slices
4 large slices white bread, cut about
2-inch thick and trimmed of crusts
4 oz. Edam cheese, finely sliced
In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the butter foam subsides, add the leek, carrots, potato, cauliflower and celery to the pan and fry for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the stock to the vege-tables and bring the liquid to the boil over high heat.
Partly cover the saucepan and reduce the heat to low. Simmer the vegetables for about 20 minutes, or until they are tender but not soft.
While the vegetables are cooking, fry the bacon in a medium-sized frying-pan over moderate heat for about 3 minutes on each side or until the bacon is brown and crisp around the edges. With tongs remove the bacon from the pan and place it on kitchen paper towels to drain.
Add the slices of bread to the bacon fat in the pan and fry them for about 2 minutes on each side or until crisp and brown. With tongs remove the bread from the pan and place it on kitchen paper towels to drain.
Preheat the grill to high.
Pour the soup into a medium-sized flameproof soup tureen. Cover the surface of the soup with a layer of the bacon slices, a layer of the fried bread and then a layer of the sliced cheese.
Place the tureen under the grill and cook for 5 minutes, or until the cheese melts and begins to brown. (If your soup tureen will not fit under the grill, turn the soup into individual heatproof soup bowls, each topped with the bacon, fried bread and cheese, and slide them under the grill.) Serve at once.