White Bean Soup with Bacon and Herbs
This is one of my favorite soups to make when the weather gets cold. It’s a soup with a light broth, with chunky great northern beans, and a sprinkling of bacon. Including prep and cook time, it will be ready to serve in two hours and serves 12. Even if I am only inviting over a few friends, I still make the entire recipe because it makes for delicious leftovers!
- 1 1/4 pound thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Spanish onion, finely chopped – you can also use a medium sized yellow onion
- 1 large carrot, finely diced
- 2 celery ribs, finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons thyme, chopped
- 2 tablespoons rosemary, chopped
- 1 pound great northern beans, soaked overnight and drained
- 10 cups chicken stock
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- In a large soup pot, cook the bacon over moderate heat, stirring until browned and crisp. Drain, reserving the fat and bacon separately.
- Heat the olive oil in the soup pot. Add the onion, carrot and celery, and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf, and one teaspoon each of chopped thyme and rosemary, and cook until fragrant. Add the drained beans, stock and three tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat, and bring to a boil. Simmer the soup over moderately low heat until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Discard the bay leaf and stir in the remaining thyme and rosemary. Season the soup with salt and pepper and transfer it to shallow bowls. Garnish the soup with bacon and stir.