BOILED PEANUT SOUP
8 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
14 ounces chopped onions, approximately 3 cups
6 cups chicken broth
22 ounces shelled boiled Virginia or Valencia peanuts, recipe follows
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
3 cups 2 percent milk
4 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
Place a 6 quart pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until the bacon is browned, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove the bacon to a paper-towel lined plate or rack. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat.
Decrease the heat to medium and add the onions to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is softened and beginning to brown around the edges, approximately 6 minutes. Add the broth, peanuts and thyme. Increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Once the mixture reaches a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low to maintain a rapid simmer. Cook until the peanuts begin to loosen from their skins and the broth is reduced by 1/4, approximately 20 to 25 minutes.
Turn off the heat and puree the mixture with a hand-held stick blender until smooth. Add the milk, vinegar, salt and pepper and puree until combined. Turn the heat back to medium and cook until warmed through, 5 to 7 minutes.
Garnish with the reserved bacon and serve immediately.