Apr 11, 2017

Homemade Bean and Bacon Soup

I can't explain it. Bean and bacon soup feels like comfort food to me, and yet it wasn't something I even remember eating as a child. My mom didn't ever make it, and I don't recall cans of bean and bacon soup in our cupboard. Nor have I eaten it as an adult. So it's a mystery. But I must have tried it at some point, and it stuck in my imagination. So when I saw this recipe for Homemade Bean and Bacon Soup on the Taste and Tell blog, I knew I had to try it. And this is a soup I'll definitely make again. The taste, the texture, and the look all appeal to me. And it's comfort food, after all. In any case, below is the original recipe with a few noted modifications. So get yourself a good crusty bread and give this soup a try.

8 ounces thick sliced bacon, diced (the original recipe calls for a cherry smoked bacon, but I used an applewood smoked bacon with a slight maple flavoring)
1 cup diced yellow onions
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery (I'm not a big fan of celery with this soup. So I used about 3/4 of a cup and will use even less next time. Probably half a cup. But it's up to you.)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour (the original recipe didn't call for this, but I added it to the sauteed vegetables and mixed it well before adding the chicken broth)
4 cups chicken broth
3 cans (15 ounces each) Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed (I might even add an extra can of beans next time because I like a chunky soup.)
2 tablespoons brown sugar, or to taste (the original recipe didn't call for this either, but I wanted a hint of sweetness)
salt and pepper
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce

Cook the bacon in a soup pot or Dutch oven until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Discard all but about 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease. To the hot bacon grease, add the onions, carrots and celery. Cook over medium heat until they start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute. Stir in flour until blended and then add chicken broth and beans. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a bubble then reduce the heat to low and let the soup simmer for 1 hour. Remove half of the soup to a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Return the puree to the soup pot and stir into the remaining soup. Add the brown sugar, tomato sauce, and ¾ of the reserved bacon and stir to combine. Taste and season to taste with salt and pepper. Let the soup simmer until it is heated through, about 5 minutes. Serve topped with the remaining bacon. Serves 4