With falling temperatures and shorter days upon us, now is the perfect time to bring some warmth and comfort to your table. This Creamy Onion Bacon Soup is a terrific way to usher in the autumn soup season with a simple recipe that yields a delicious result.

Onions are in season and you will find an abundant variety in our local markets, with any yellow variety working well for this soup. This recipe calls for the onion to be diced into medium-sized pieces, and a good tip is to use your thumbnail as a guide for the size.

One yellow onion is diced into medium-sized pieces, similar in size to a thumbnail. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
One yellow onion is diced into medium-sized pieces, similar in size to a thumbnail. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

The savory fragrance of onions and garlic cooking together is like an invitation to dine, and when bacon is added into the mix even the most novice home cook will come off like a pro. For this recipe, you will need one medium or large yellow onion, one garlic clove and four strips of bacon to build the flavor base of the soup.

The bacon is the first ingredient cooked in either a large pot or Dutch oven, so that the drippings can be used as the fat to cook the onions and garlic. I like to use thick-cut strips of bacon for this soup, but any style of bacon will work just fine. The bacon is cooked until crispy and then broken into bits to be added back into the soup later.

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Strips of bacon are cooked until crispy first and then crumbled into bits to be added back to the soup before serving. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
Strips of bacon are cooked until crispy first and then crumbled into bits to be added back to the soup before serving. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

The onion is chopped into medium-diced pieces and then sauteed in the bacon drippings for about 10 minutes, so that it is soft, translucent and slightly caramelized. The garlic is minced and added to the onion at this stage, and cooked for just another minute, and then a quarter-cup of flour is added to help thicken the soup.

Cooking the onions in bacon drippings ensures that they are infused with smoky flavor. The onions are sauteed for about 10 minutes until tender and lightly caramelized. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
Cooking the onions in bacon drippings ensures that they are infused with smoky flavor. The onions are sauteed for about 10 minutes until tender and lightly caramelized. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

I let the flour-onion mixture cook over medium-low heat for about 2 minutes to allow the flour taste to cook off before adding the liquid.

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I use chicken broth for this recipe, but you could also use vegetable broth, water or a combination of these liquids as desired. Once the flour has been combined, the broth is added and the soup is brought to a boil, followed by five minutes of simmering to thicken the soup.

To make this onion soup silky and lush, heavy cream and grated Parmesan cheese are added at the end, along with the crumbled bacon bits. The combination of velvety cream surrounding the tender onions and crispy bacon is like an invitation to dine — from the aromas alone, you know this soup is going to taste great.

Heavy cream is stirred in at the end to make the soup lush and creamy. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
Heavy cream is stirred in at the end to make the soup lush and creamy. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

This Creamy Onion Bacon Soup would be a perfect starter course for an elegant dinner and would also make a great sauce for chicken and pork dishes. This recipe utilizes simple components with a simple process to produce a soup that is fragrant, seasonal and delicious.

Welcome to the season of soup!

After adding the heavy cream, a generous dose of grated Parmesan cheese and the crispy bacon bits are added to the soup just before serving. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
After adding the heavy cream, a generous dose of grated Parmesan cheese and the crispy bacon bits are added to the soup just before serving. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

Creamy Onion Bacon Soup

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Ingredients:

4 strips bacon, uncooked

1 medium yellow onion, medium-diced

1 garlic clove, minced

¼ cup all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon dried thyme flakes

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 quart chicken broth

½ cup heavy cream

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ to ½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce (adjust to taste)

Fresh chives, finely chopped, to garnish

Directions:

In a large pot or Dutch oven, add the bacon and cook over medium heat, turning every couple minutes, until crispy, about 6 to 7 minutes. Remove bacon and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels, patting off any excess grease. Once cool, crumble the bacon into large bits and set aside.

Add the diced onion to the same pot and cook in the bacon drippings over medium-low heat, stirring often, until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 more minute, stirring constantly.

Add the flour, thyme and salt to the onion mixture and cook over medium-low heat for 2 minutes, stirring often, until combined and the flour taste has cooked off. Slowly add the broth while stirring constantly to incorporate the ingredients.

Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.

Once boiling, reduce to medium-low heat and simmer for 5 minutes until the broth begins to thicken. Stir in the heavy cream, Parmesan cheese and most of the bacon bits (save some to garnish) and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more until hot. If the soup is too thick, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is achieved.

Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Serve hot, garnished with fresh chives and reserved bacon bits.

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“Home with the Lost Italian” is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owned Sarello’s in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at sarahnasello@gmail.com.