It’s soup week here at Food and Whine. No. Not really. It just seems that way :) Actually, it’s just January in Ontario, so just about every day is a good soup day it seems.
I have always been a fan of Campbell’s™ Bean with Bacon Soup but I didn’t set out to try to replicate it. I really just thought I should probably be eating more beans. That said, I was pleasantly surprised how close this soup ended up to the flavours of the canned version. No, it’s not exactly the same, but it’s definitely in the neighbourhood.
This is a bit of a loose recipe, mainly because I made it up as I went along. There are plenty of options for tweaking the soup to your taste. I used canned beans for my soup because I was feeling lazy today. Certainly you could start with dried beans and soak according to the package directions. Simply add the beans at the same time in the recipe.
I loved the convenience of using canned beans and the texture was actually quite lovely in the soup. Just be sure to rinse the canned beans really well before adding to the soup. By using canned beans, the soup was ready in just about an hour, which makes it great for a hearty but quick weeknight meal.
Bean with Bacon Soup
Summary: This recipe uses canned navy beans but can also be made starting with dried beans. Just soak the beans per the package instructions and add to the soup at the same time as specified in the recipe. You may need to simmer the soup a wee bit longer. Just do a taste test to make sure the beans are tender.
- 5 slices of bacon, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1/3 cup diced onion (from about 1/2 an onion)
- 1/3 cup diced red pepper
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup cup diced carrot (from about 1 carrot)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 5 cups chicken broth (sodium-reduced if you have it)
- A few drops of liquid smoke, if you happen to have it around
- Bay leaf
- 2 cans (15oz/425g) navy beans, rinsed well (15oz/425g)
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce (or 2-3 Tbsp. tomato paste)
- 2 tsp. sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- (Cornstarch/water to thicken soup, if desired)
- Splash of cream, if desired
- Off the top, a brief word about salt. There are a lot of salty elements in this soup, so you definitely don’t want to add any extra salt until you taste it at the very end of cooking. You can control the salt a bit easier by using sodium-reduced bacon and chicken broth and by rinsing the beans really well before adding to the soup. Then taste at the end and add only as much salt as you think the soup needs.
- Cook the bacon until almost crisp in a Dutch oven or large pot, over medium heat. Add the onion, red pepper and carrot to the pot and cook, stirring, until the onions are tender. Add the broth, the beans and a bay leaf. Bring to a boil then immediately reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
- Remove and discard the bay leaf. Add the tomato sauce and the sugar to the soup. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary (add more salt/pepper/sugar/tomato paste, to taste). If you’d like a thicker soup, you can make a slurry of 2 Tbsp. of cornstarch with enough water to make a paste. Add to soup. Cook over medium heat, stirring until soup thickens. Repeat to thicken more if you’d like. Add a splash of heavy cream or half and half if you’d like it a wee bit creamier (not much is needed, just a splash) Finally, if you like, you could use a potato masher or immersion blender to gently smash a few of the beans (not all, just some), to add some texture to the broth.
Prep time: 10 min | Cook time: 50 min | Total time: 1 hour
Number of servings (yield): 6 – 8