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

Apr 1, 2017

Beef Asparagus Stir Fry

This is another winning recipe from my friend Angie! Really easy to put together, and I love the combination of beef, asparagus, and mushrooms.

1 pound beef tenderloin roast, cubed
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
Cooked rice

In a wok or large skillet, stir-fry the beef, onion, and salt and pepper in oil for 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Remove from the pan and keep warm. In the same pan, stir-fry asparagus and mushrooms in butter until asparagus is tender. Return beef mixture to the pan. Stir in soy sauce and lemon juice. Heat through. Serve with rice.