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Vegetable Potage with Comté Crisps

Vegetable Potage with Comté Crisps
Serves 4
Comté crisps are the perfect accompaniment to a steaming bowl of vegetable potage, or thick soup. This version gets whizzed together in less than thirty minutes. Dunk a Comté crisp into the soup, take a cheesy bite, and welcome to heaven!
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  1. ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing crisps
  2. 2 medium onions, diced
  3. 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  4. 2 stalks celery, diced
  5. 1½ teaspoons salt, divided, plus additional for seasoning
  6. ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus additional for seasoning
  7. 2 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  8. 1½ pounds sweet potatoes (2 medium), peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
  9. 2 bay leaves
  10. 4 sprigs thyme
  11. 1 lemon wedge
  12. ½ baguette, cut on the diagonal into ½-inch slices
  13. 1 cup packed shredded Comté (2½-ounces)
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery, along with 1 teaspoon salt and ½teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add the sweet potatoes, bay leaves, thyme sprigs and remaining ½ teaspoon salt, along with 5 cups water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, partially covered, 10-15 minutes, or until sweet potatoes and vegetables are tender.
  3. Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Using a blender or hand blender, puree the soup until smooth. Season with salt, pepper and a few drops of lemon juice to taste.
  4. COMTE CRISPS: Line the baguette slices on the prepared baking sheet and brush them lightly on both sides with olive oil. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Bake 4-6 minutes, or until lightly crisp on top. Turn the bread over and cook another 3-5 minutes, or until crisp on the other side. Mound the Comté evenly over each crisp. Bake 1-2 minutes, or until the cheese is just melted. Serve warm or at room temperature with the soup.
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