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I've been in Chicago for the last week and Michael and I splurged on an amazingly fun restaurant called Moto in the West Loop (the bill for two was close to $400!). The head chef is this crazy guy who basically scientifically deconstructs (there was a tour at the end that involved a demo of centrifuges, for example) food flavors and reassembles them in fun and quirky ways. One of our ten courses was a clear pretzel broth studded with freeze-dried scallions and cubed 4-year old Wisconsin cheddar. Holding on to the flavors tight in my memory I sought to recreate the soup to have at home. Check my Twitter feed @Vegetarianized for pictures and descriptions of all the courses, including a cigar and ash tray dish made of mushroom puree stuffed into a braised collard green, and Cracker Jacks of apple gnocchi, popcorn powder and caramel puree - plus a weeks' worth of meals in Chicago with my Top 4 deep dish pie spots.
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Pretzel Cheese Soup

March 27, 2011

30 min or less active, fall, soup, spring, summer, vegan, winter

I've been in Chicago for the last week and Michael and I splurged on an amazingly fun restaurant called Moto in the West Loop (the bill for two was close to $400!). The head chef is this crazy guy who basically scientifically deconstructs (there was a tour at the end that involved a demo of centrifuges, for example) food flavors and reassembles them in fun and quirky ways. One of our ten courses was a clear pretzel broth studded with freeze-dried scallions and cubed 4-year old Wisconsin cheddar. Holding on to the flavors tight in my memory I sought to recreate the soup to have at home. Check my Twitter feed @Vegetarianized for pictures and descriptions of all the courses, including a cigar and ash tray dish made of mushroom puree stuffed into a braised collard green, and Cracker Jacks of apple gnocchi, popcorn powder and caramel puree - plus a weeks' worth of meals in Chicago with my Top 4 deep dish pie spots.
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Information

Servings: 6
Time: About 20 minutes active; less than two hours total
Price: About $11.30 total; $1.90 per serving
Nutrition (per serving):
Calories: 302.1
Protein: 10.1g
Fat: 12.4g
Saturated fat: 5g
Carbohydrates: 39.9g
Fiber: 4.1g
Sodium: 801.9mg
Cholesterol: 20mg
High In:
Good Source:
Low In:

Ingredients

  • 8 oz salted pretzels, snapped in half (I used rods)
  • 1 red onion, quartered
  • 1/4 lb mushrooms, halved
  • 1/4 lb carrots, cut into 2" pieces and then halved
  • 1/4 lb celery including leaves, cut into 2" piece and then halved
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp EVOO
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 12 whole peppercorns
  • 1 large sprig thymeSalt to taste (I used 2 Tbsp)
  • 3 scallions, sliced
  • 4 oz extra sharp cheddar (preferably 2-4 year aged), cubed (omit for a vegan soup)

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large roasting/casserole pan, toss pretzels, onion, mushrooms, carrots, celery, pepper and EVOO. Roast for 30 minutes, stirring half way.
  2. When done roasting, put the pretzel-vegetable mixture in a large soup pot. Add 12 cups of water, garlic, bay leaf, peppercorns, thyme and heat over medium to medium-hight heat, boil/simmer and reduce about one hour - pretzels should be completely dissolved. Adjust salt and other seasonings.
  3. Remove thyme sprig and puree soup with a hand blender or in a food processor. Divide soup among bowls and top with scallions and cubed cheese.

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