Thursday, October 15, 2009

Navy Bean and Bacon Soup, revisited (...and adapted for a pressure cooker)

The weather in Northern California has been very strange. Today, we had temps in the high 70's and it was really muggy. Monday, we had grey skies and Tuesday we were hit by a heavy storm. Go figure.

I decided to make a Bean &; Bacon Soup Recipe that I posted many months ago-- before I learned how to take better food pictures. It's amazing what a difference a macro lens can make!  I also tweaked a few things, and adjusted that in the recipe a little bit.
NOTE: Since I published this recipe, I've tweaked things a little differently, for my pressure cooker. The recipe card (at the very bottom of this post) will tell you how to make this soup conventionally or with a pressure cooker.
I grabbed a bag of Great White Northern beans. Since I made the soup on a whim, I didn't pre-soak the beans overnight. I used my pressure cooker to do a quick soak, but you can also you a regular pot. I simply rinsed and sorted out the beans, put them into my pressure cooker, covered them with water and a pinch of salt  and let them cook for 3 minutes (a regular pot takes about 5 minutes). I turned off the pressure cooker (mine is digital) and released the steam. In a regular pot, just turn it off and let them sit for about an hour. NOTE: I see no reason why you can't use drained and rinsed canned beans, instead.

This is a simple soup to make-- you need a mirepoix, which is a fancy word for chopped onion, celery and carrots.  I actually did a rough chop and pulsed them in my food processor.

For the bacon, I removed some from the freezer and sliced them with a very sharp knife.

You want them a little this. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Reserve some bacon fat and cook the mirepoix for 3-5 minutes, then I added one clove of garlic. I added 2 Tablespoons tomato paste (for a richer flavor; the season with about 1 Tablespoon of fresh or dried thyme (I used dried). 

In a Dutch Oven -- in this case, I used my pressure cooker-- add the bacon and mirepoix.
NOTE:  I now cook the bacon and vegetables, using the browning cycle on my electric pressure cooker...much easier!

I thawed the last of my homemade chicken stock, but you can certainly used a good quality chicken stock (Trader Joe's or Kitchen Basics are my favorite commercial brands). I recommend buying low-sodium chicken broth and adjusting the salt to your own liking.

Add  chicken stock , beans, vegetables, one large can of diced tomatoes, bay leaf, salt, pepper, and cloves, and pressure cook for 25 minutes. If using a dutch oven, simmer all the ingredients for about 1- 1/2/ hours. You could, certainly, use a slow cooker for this, too!  You can mash some of the beans to make the soup thicker. I prefer to take about 2 Tablespoons of potato starch, ladle some broth in a bowl and whisk it together-- the soup should thicken nicely.
The printable recipe is at the bottom of this post. 

This is one of those hearty soups that men, in particular, seem to love. I think men have a "thing" about least in my house!

I froze half the soup for one of those work nights when I'm too tired to cook. A salad and some hearty bread makes this a filling meal.  It reminds me of Campbell's Soup from my childhood-- only a whole lot better!  A printable recipe card is at the end of this post.

 Enjoying rain and sunshine in one week,

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Anonymous said...

I love your soup - looks beautiful and sound delis! Perfect for a snowy days, which I am about to experience this w-end in Poland :) ps: I will pass your recipe to my mom :)

Donna-FFW said...

This will be making it to my table soon. I love good soups and this one is screaming my name!

Cheryl said...

I just have to make thie next both you and Pam from the Love of Cooking have made this! It is my husbands favorite soup!

TKW said...

LOL, in a couple of months when I can even LOOK at a bean again, I will give this a try...

Pam said...

I love this soup - your version looks really delicious.

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

This was always my favorite as a kid (yes, men and boys love bean and bacon soup!) but I don't think I've ever had a homemade version. My stomach was doing happy flips just looking at the photos!

Danielle said...

That sure does look good. We've had that crazy weather down here too....Rained for 2 days (highs in the low 70's) and then bam! next in the low 90's! It needs to get cold again so i can try your soup.

Monica H said...

A fancy version of pork and beans! so simple and comforting.

Sherry said...

I'm planning on making bean soup this weekend, and this one looks very interesting. I love the addition of bacon. I normally use ham. Thanks!