Capri S. Cafaro, former Minority Leader of the Ohio Senate, released her debut cookbook “United We Eat.” The 128-page book shares recipes representing all 50 states with submissions by political leaders from both sides of the aisle, including former 2020 Democrat presidential candidates Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-Ind.) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), former governor and current Fox News contributor Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.) and current MSNBC commentator and former Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele (R-Md.).
“We are in a time rife with division. It is in times like these when it is most important to remember what can bring us together,” explained Cafaro. “I have always believed a good meal or a sweet treat can warm all of our hearts and remind us of the kindness and community spirit that makes us Americans.”
Vermont’s contribution to the book is a starter, cheddar cheese soup with maple-candied bacon, pairing two of Vermont’s culinary crown jewels, maple syrup and cheddar cheese. The full recipe is below.
The hardcover edition of “United We Eat” (Story Farm, $30) is available nationwide via Amazon.
Cheddar cheese soup with maple-candied bacon
(adapted by Capri S. Cafaro) – Serves 4
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
¼ cup maple sugar
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound bacon
5 tablespoons salted butter
1 small onion, diced
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock
3 cups milk
1 cup light cream
10 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix maple syrup, maple sugar, Dijon mustard, and cayenne in a bowl.
Add bacon to the bowl and toss to coat.
Spread bacon strips evenly on a baking sheet lined with tin foil.
Bake 20 minutes.
Remove from oven, flip bacon, and then bake for another 10-15 minutes or until bacon is crispy but not burnt.
Remove from oven. Let bacon cool for five minutes, then break into small pieces. Set aside or store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.
Add onion to butter and cook until translucent, approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Sprinkle flour over onion, stirring constantly, then slowly add chicken stock incrementally while still stirring.
Add milk and cream to the pot and mix thoroughly.
Remove from heat and purée the mixture in a blender until smooth.
Return soup mix to pot and cook over low heat.
Add shredded cheese, mixing it in incrementally while stirring continuously. Stir over low heat until well mixed and melted, approximately three minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve soup in individual bowls topped with bacon crumbles.