When I was a kid, my absolute favorite soup was Campbell's Bean with Bacon. God, I loved that stuff. A bowl of that reconstituted goodness next to a grilled cheese sandwich on Brownberry wheat bread was my go-to meal if I needed comforting. (Please do not tell me that Bean with Bacon soup is gross, because you are wrong, and I don't want to have to argue.)
Recently, I've been craving some of the comfort foods of my childhood, including that soup. But I thought that maybe I didn't need to resort to the condensed soup from a can, anymore. Frankly, the sodium alone is alarming. So I decided to try making my own.
And it WORKED. And it was SO DELICIOUS. It had just the flavor I remembered. Also: cheap! And relatively healthy, if you don't think too much about the bacon part! Am soup GENIUS.
Bean with Bacon Soup
Just like Campbell's used to make, except not from a can.
- 3 cans white beans, rinsed and drained (I used cannelini because it's what I had on hand; navy beans would be even better)
- 4 slices bacon (I used a nice thick cut- if you're using thinner bacon, maybe try 6 slices)
- 1-2 carrots, minced
- 1-2 stalks celery, minced
- 1 medium onion, chopped fine
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 1/2 of a small can (approx 2 tbsp) tomato paste
- salt and pepper to taste.
1. In the pan you plan to cook the soup in, fry the bacon on both sides until most of the fat is rendered, but not crispy.
2. Remove the bacon from the pot, leaving the rendered grease behind. Add the carrots, celery, and onion. Cook over medium heat, stirring to get up all the bacon-y goodness, until the vegetables are softened, 5-7 minutes.
3. Add the beans, broth, water, and bay leaves. Partially cover and cook over low heat for a good long while. (I let it go for a couple of hours- this is a great thing to do on a rainy sunday, because it makes your kitchen smell fantastic. But I think 30 minutes would do in a pinch.)
4. Chop the bacon in to tiny pieces. Add chopped bacon and tomato paste to the soup. Cover again and cook another 20 minutes or so.
5. Just before serving, use an immersion blender to half-puree the soup, leaving some whole beans and chunks intact. (If you don't have an immersion blender, remove about 2 cups of the soup, puree in a blender, and stir back into the pot.) Season with salt and pepper to taste (it shouldn't need much; the bacon is salty, so start with a light hand) and serve.