Monday, December 9, 2013

White Bean Soup with Bacon

I didn't set out for this to be a blog post, but I posted a picture on Facebook of the soup I made this nice cold weekend, and got some requests for the recipe, so here we go!
Soups and stews are nice for a number of reasons:
-- they're hardy and hearty
-- relatively inexpensive to make
-- don't require the precision that baking does, and are generally easy to halve, double, or make other changes (sometimes known as winging it)

This soup was from a blog post on a site called The Crazy Apron, and the original post is here. I thought that six cans of beans sounded like a bit much, and changed things along the way. I am quite happy with how mine came out, but don't be afraid to make some tweaks of your own.

White Bean Soup with Bacon, serves 4

6 ounces thick-cut bacon, chopped (I think a smoked ham hock would be very nice too)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
2 (15 ounces) cans white beans (I used great northerns), drained & rinsed
3 cups chicken stock/broth, warmed a bit
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice

-- Heat a Dutch oven (at least 3 quarts) over medium heat.
-- Add bacon and cook until crisp; remove with slotted spoon & let drain on paper towel.
-- Remove all but 1 tablespoon of bacon grease, and of course save for another use!
-- Add olive oil and butter to bacon grease over medium heat.
-- Add onion, carrots, and celery; allow to soften for about 5 minutes.
-- Add garlic; let cook another 2 - 3 minutes until aromatic.
-- Add thyme, salt and pepper, beans, and about 2/3 the cooked bacon, stirring to combine.
-- Add broth; increase heat to high, and bring to a low boil.
-- Reduce heat to medium/medium low (whatever allows it to keep simmering gently), pot covered most of the way; stir occasionally and simmer for 30 minutes.
-- Remove thyme.
-- If you have an immersion (stick) blender, place it in the pot and blend about half the mixture; alternately, you can just mash with a potato masher, or if you really want to mash it, carefully ladle into half into a blender and puree.
-- Stir to combine, and return to heat for about 10 more minutes.
-- Remove from heat; add lemon zest and juice.
-- Ladle into individual serving bowls, and serve with reserved bacon on top; great with crusty garlic bread.