Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Cat's Away

That means Henry is out of town for a couple of days. Woohoo! Freedom to hang out in bars, party it up and ditch the usual boring routine!

Yeah, right.

In truth, it’s 8pm and I am hanging out in my sweats, hunkering down in my warm, cozy kitchen because it’s freakin’ cold outside. Even for Atlanta. I just finished some leftover chicken and am nursing a glass of red wine that remained from last night’s dinner. Liz, you party animal!

I know that many of you live in much more frigid climates than I do. How in the heck do you do that, anyway? Down here, when the temp dips below 50-degrees, we can barely stand it. All we can think about is soup, wonderful and warming soup.

Lest you think I am going to give you a recipe for a hearty, healthy, soul-warming and savory soup, forget about it. Nope, I’m giving you the recipe for something much, much better. You can whip it up in an instant and this is the best time of the year to make it because you can easily find panettone in your local market. Huh? What does panettone have to do with soup?

Well, everything. That’s because we are talking about CHOCOLATE SOUP. Yep, you heard me right.

This was originally on the menu at Sotto Sotto, a wonderful Italian restaurant here in the ATL.

Our local paper published the recipe for it a thousand years ago. Ridiculous person that I am, I clipped it and filed it in my ever-expanding quantity of recipe notebooks. Just be happy I did that so I can now share the recipe with you.

CHOCOLATE SOUP  (adapted from Sotto Sotto)

1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons espresso powder
11 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon dark rum
Pinch of salt
One 3.5 oz. loaf panettone, sliced
Granulated sugar, for sprinkling
Whipped cream, for serving
Cocoa nibs and ground cinnamon, for serving

In a heavy pot, heat cream, sugar and espresso powder over medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil then reduce heat to low and add chocolate. Stir over low heat until chocolate is melted. Add rum and salt, then stir to blend and remove from heat.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350-degrees. Cut panettone into circles which will fit into four small 4-inch ramekins or dessert bowls. Sprinkle them with granulated sugar, place on a baking sheet and bake until just lightly toasted, about 5 minutes.

To serve, place a slice of toasted panettone in each ramekin. Pour equal amounts of reserved chocolate mixture over each one then top with freshly whipped cream. Garnish each one with a few cocoa nibs and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Serves 4

We folks here in the south don't mess around with our soup.  Now you know.

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