1/4 lb. slab bacon or 4 slices thick-cut bacon, finely diced
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (1 1/2 large onions)
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups boiled peanuts, shelled
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (from twelve 5-inch sprigs)
1 1/2 cups two-percent milk
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
Kosher salt to taste
finely ground white pepper to taste
Scatter the diced bacon in a 12-inch skillet and saute over medium-high heat, moving the pieces around with a slotted spoon until the bacon is firm and just golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a small bowl. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat and discard.
Add the onion to the skillet and saute until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, peanuts, and 2 teaspoons thyme, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer vigorously, uncovered, until the peanuts have slipped their skins and the broth is reduced by one quarter, about 10 minutes.
Transfer some of the soup to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth, about 3 minutes. Repeat, processing in batches until all the soup is pureed. Pass the soup through a fine-mesh strainer into the pot; you should have about 3 cups. Add the milk and vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Ladle into bowls and garnish each bowl with pinches of the remaining thyme leaves.
bacon recipe source: The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-Be Southerners, by Matt Lee & Ted Lee (NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 2006)