WHITE BEAN & BACON SOUP RECIPE


A white bean and bacon, powered up by ham hock and red pepper, and with a little bit of everything that makes a soup good: creamy, brothy, chunky, rich with savory white beans and ham. It’s the perfect winter soup, all in one pot.

Servings : 8

INGREDIENTS

·         1 pound dried white beans, such as navy or Great Northern
·         1 ham hock or ham bone
·         8 cups low-sodium chicken stock or broth
·         7 ounces thick-cut maple bacon (4 to 5 slices), diced*
·         1 onion, diced
·         1 red pepper, diced
·         2 carrots, diced
·         2 celery stalks, diced
·         4 cloves garlic, minced
·         Salt and pepper, to taste
·         3 ounces ham, diced (about 1/2 cup)
·         4 stems thyme
·         1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
·         Fresh parsley, chopped




INSTRUCTIONS

1.    Cover the beans with water in a large pot and soak overnight. Drain the water. (If you forget to soak the beans, do a fast soak with them the hour before cooking.)
2.   Add the ham hock and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and partially cover. Cook for 1 to 2 hours or until the beans are tender. Remove the ham hock.
3.    While the beans cook slowly cook the bacon in a 5-quart or larger Dutch oven on medium heat for 7 to 10 minutes or until the fat renders out and the bacon is crispy. Push the bacon to the side and add the onion, red pepper, carrots, celery, and garlic. Sprinkle very lightly with salt and sauté for 10 minutes or until soft. Add the diced ham and thyme. If the beans are not yet ready, remove the bacon and aromatics mixture from the heat until they are.
4.   When the beans are soft, mash or puree about 2 cups of beans then add to the pot with the bacon and aromatics. Pour in the rest of the broth and beans and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and cook for at least 15 minutes, but ideally much longer so the flavors have time to mingle. Add the lemon zest, juice, and finely chopped parsley to taste.
5.  The cooled soup only improves after a night in the refrigerator. It will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days and it freezes well.




RECIPE NOTES

·      Maple Bacon Substitute: If you do not have maple bacon, add 1 tablespoon maple syrup to the bacon as it renders.
·    Seasoning Caution: There's quite a bit of salt in this recipe, between the ham shank, the diced ham, and the bacon. So taste as you go, and don't add significant salt until the end of cooking, after you've tasted the finished soup.
·     Alternate Cooking Methods: This soup is even better when cooked slowly over a whole day. Add the cooked beans and sautéed aromatics and bacon to a slow cooker and cook on low for up to 8 hours. Or cook in a 275°F oven for several hours.
·    Recipe Shortcuts: This recipe can be made with canned beans, and without the ham shank, but you'll notice a difference. "Make sure you don’t skimp on the bacon, and really it’s worth the extra trip to the butcher for that bone," Carmen says. The lemon juice, zest and parsley are not to be missed as they give the soup wonderful brightness.

Recipe from thekitchn.com




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