Bean and Bacon Soup
Serving Size: 6 oz
Yield 20 portions
Preparation Time: 2:00
- 1 lb. beans dried and soaked—see note
- 1/2 lb. bacon, ends and pieces—chopped fine
- 4 medium onions—chopped
- 4 stalks celery—chopped
- 4 lg. carrots—peel and diced
- 1 lb. plum tomatoes—diced
- 1 gallon stock or water
- 1 each ham hock smoked
- 1 each bay leaf
- 1 tsp. thyme, leaf
- salt and pepper—to taste
- 1 lb. smoked sausage sliced (optional)
- Check the beans for stones. Pour boiling water over beans and let stand 1 hour or soak overnight and drain. Scarlet Runner beans were chosen for this recipe because they cook up nice and big and meaty, but any dried beans will do, with Great Northern beans being the most popular. Be sure to use soft water or the beans will be tough.
- Finely chop the bacon ends and pieces, or fat saved from a smoked ham, and cook it on a medium fire in a big pot to render the fat. Be sure the crumbs of fat are nicely browned, like crisp bacon.
- Add the cut up veggies (you can change the amounts to suit yourself, and add others too, ad lib) and sauté in the fat. Add a few cloves of mashed garlic if you like it.
- Drain the beans and rinse them.
- Add the water or stock, beans and ham hock and herbs and spices.
- Bring to the boil, simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, maybe even more depending on beans, until they are very tender. New crop, (this years) beans will get tender faster and taste best. Cut the fat and skin from the ham hock and dice it and return to the soup. I often cook a couple of extra ones and have beans and hocks as a meal. Season with salt and pepper.
You can skim the fat, but in the cold winter, it tastes good. The colder it is, the better you will like fatty soups. If you cook it long enough, the beans and everything will break down and purée, combining with the fat to make a "creamy" consistency, that is much admired by "beanies."
I like to finish the soup with sliced kielbasi, but that is gilding the lily. If you have a wood fireplace, grow some fresh parsley where you dump the ashes, and garnish this soup with deep green parsley pluches. I used to dump the ashes when I got up in the early AM, and chew on some parsley. Nothing in this world gives a cleaner tasting mouth. Parsley loses fragrance and flavor quickly when picked. You'd never know that unless you had fresh. Grow it in a sunny window box. If I were designing a house, I'd have the big kitchen window get the morning sun, and face the garden, with my table set so I could look out while I was having breakfast, and watch the rabbits fatten on the extra I'd planted for them.
Steve's #20 Recipes:
- Cream of White Mirepoix Soup
- Cream of Mushroom Soup
- Cream of Asparagus Soup
- Cream of Cauliflower and Pea
- Cream of Potato and Leek
- Bean and Bacon Soup
- Purée of Peas with Ham
- Purée of Lentil Soup with Smoked Sausage
©1996, Steve K. Holzinger. All rights reserved.
This Archived Page created between 1994 and 2001. Modified August 2007