Get ready for one of the most memorable and out-of-the-box soups you’ve ever made. This idea was lit on a recent trip to Amsterdam as I ate some cheese fondue with apples, which go together beautifully. While scraping the pot for the last lick of cheese, I thought of devising a chowder featuring said apples and cheddar along with bacon and a combo of sweet and savory seasonings. Not only is it rustic and hearty, it’s as simple as ABC to make (which is fitting as a double entendre for the soup’s name)! Apple Bacon Cheddar (ABC) Chowder, welcome to the world.
Before Pressure Cooking:
The Finishing Touches:
Instant Pot Apple Bacon Cheddar (ABC) Chowder
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) salted butter
- 1 pound thick-cut bacon, diced (this is easily done when immediately removed from the fridge since the bacon will be a bit firm and sliced together).
- 1 Vidalia/sweet onion, diced
- 1/2 cup beer (I use Budweiser - see Step 2's note)
- 3 cups chicken, ham, or garlic broth (I use 3 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon base + 3 cups water)
- 1 cup apple juice
- 6 apples (I use 3 Gala and 3 Fuji), peeled, cored and diced into bite-size chunks
- 2 pounds Idaho/russet potatoes, peeled and diced into bite-size chunks
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried or rubbed sage
- 1 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
- 2-4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (see Jeff's Tips)
- 1-2 tablespoons Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning OR seasoned salt
- 1 teaspoon celery salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon apple pie spice
- Apple butter, approx 1 tablespoon dollops per bowl when serving (optional - See Jeff's Tips)
- Add the butter to the Instant Pot, hit Sauté and Adjust to the More or High setting. Once melted, add the bacon and sauté for 10-15 minutes, until the bacon is a nice reddish-brown and crispy (let it rest and stir occasionally during this time - it will become foamy in the pot). Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside in a paper towel-lined bowl as it will continue to crisp.
- With the bacon grease remaining in the pot, add the onion and sauté for 3 minutes longer. Add the beer and deglaze the browned bottom of the pot until smooth (NOTE: if you don’t do beer, use an additional 1/2 cup of broth and add it now to deglaze the bottom of the pot).
- Add the broth, apple juice and sage. Stir well. Add the apples and potatoes and smooth out until submerged in the liquid. Secure the lid and move the valve to the sealing position. Hit Cancel followed by Manual or Pressure Cook at High Pressure for 8 minutes. Quick release when done.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove 2 cups worth of potatoes, apples and onion to a Pyrex measuring cup and set aside. Take an immersion blender (or, in batches, transfer to a blender) and blend the soup in the pot until puréed.
- Once blended, add the cream and shredded cheese to the pot (start with 2 cups and work your way up to 4, if desired) and stir until combined. Add the celery salt, nutmeg, apple pie spice, and Tony's or seasoned salt (start with 1 tablespoon and add more to taste) and stir. Return the bacon (leaving some aside for garnish - see Jeff's Tips) and reserved potatoes, apples and onion to the pot and stir well until incorporated.
- Ladle into bowls and top with a sprinkle of additional bacon, cheese and a light dusting of sage, nutmeg, apple pie spice, and a dollop of apple butter to stir in, if desired (see Jeff's Tips).
As for which apples to use, try and stick with sweeter ones over tart ones (i.e. avoid Granny Smith for this).
If you prefer this soup with the bacon really infused into it, add most of the bacon in Step 4 when using the immersion blender, only reserving some for topping once served. Or you can add some in Step 4, some in Step 5 and reserve some for topping. (And yes, you can also use turkey bacon if your prefer).
The dollop of apple butter is a REALLY nice finishing touch and I suggest adding it and swirling it into your bowl before diving in!
You can use any melty cheese you wish. I just think Cheddar is best for this as it really complements the apple!
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