White Bean Soup with Bacon

October 3, 2009 at 2:44 pm | Posted in Soup | 21 Comments
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Forecasts from local weather stations indicate that Denver will have it’s first freeze tonight.  They even claim to be smart enough to tell us it will freeze at midnight.  Talk about frost on the pumpkin.  Seems a little early to me??? I mean really, has Alaska even had its first freeze yet? 

I’m still under the weather with this “back injury/flying man” thing, so Bob helped me bring indoors the  potted herbs that have been sunbathing on the back deck all summer,  and the last of the stubborn tomatoes that are still  clinging to the vine and  trying to ripen.  He’s covered up the sprinkler system apparatus so we don’t wake up to gushing water, lord knows where.   This means only one thing.  It’s soup season.

I need to warn readership, I make a lot of soup during the cold months.  I claim it to be my specialty.  I have collected a fine lineup of soup recipes over the years and can’t wait to share them with you.  I even have a super-duper secret favorite soup cookbook that I’ll share with everyone as soon as I post a recipe from it.  It’s become my soup inspiration and soup Bible.

For now,  tonight, I tried a new recipe because I had all ingredients on hand.  Quite nice, flavorful, pretty to look at, and pretty darn healthy.  I’m going to keep this recipe in my database. 

The house smelled so good as it simmered on the stove for two hours.  When Bob got home from work, he exclaimed “this is more like it”,  Which meant I was able to stand up long enough to prepare and cook something substantial…an indication that I’m on the mend.    The house was full of fresh and delicious aromas.  I think that’s what is so wonderful about soup, house smells like home.

So here’s the recipe.  I didn’t have the gumption to mess with it much, so I can’t take credit for  ruining  improving it over the professionally trained  famous chef who created it.  Imagine that!

Nothing adapted about this, straight from Food and Wine: 

WHOA wait a minute.  When reviewing the recipe before posting this, I did notice that I actually did unwittingly muster up some gumption to alter this recipe.  You see, I cannot finely dice or finely chop any vegetable that goes into a soup or stew.  I love those big bite chunks of delicious veggies.  I served this with the last of the tomatoes from the garden, sliced and sprinkled with cumin salt.  Cumin salt is a little trick I learned in Oregon this year, just mix cumin and salt together for a nice flavored salt.


White Bean Soup With Bacon and Herbs


  1. 1 1/4 pounds thick-sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
  2. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  3. 1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
  4. 1 large carrot, finely diced
  5. 2 celery ribs, finely diced
  6. 4 garlic cloves, minced
  7. 1 fresh bay leaf
  8. 2 teaspoons chopped thyme
  9. 2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
  10. 1 pound Great Northern beans, soaked overnight and drained
  11. 10 cups chicken stock
  12. Salt and freshly ground pepper



  1. In a large soup pot, cook the bacon over moderate heat, stirring, until browned and crisp, about 7 minutes. Drain, reserving the fat and bacon separately.
  2. 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, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf and 1 teaspoon each of the chopped thyme and rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the drained beans, stock and 3 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.
  3. Discard the bay leaf and stir in the remaining thyme and rosemary. Season the soup with salt and pepper and transfer to shallow bowls. Garnish the soup with the bacon and serve.


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  1. Wasn’t quite freezing here this morning, but dipped into the high 30’s, so just the idea of soup warmed me up. I am smoking brisket today, so the idea of a hot bowl of soup when I came in from lighting the coals (at 7 AM, 38 degrees) sounds really appealing. I may have to start cooking soups same day I have a long smoking session (a little cold won’t stop the thrill of the grill).

    Thanks for this idea

    • Can’t wait to hear about the brisket. Sounds like an all day event?

  2. We love soups too! Yours looked excellent! Most of my soups are so full of stuff, they look more like stew sometimes… I think you do the same!

    • Thanks BD. That’s right, soups beg for “lots of stuff” 🙂

  3. I love white bean soup – the bacon is an excellent touch.
    You should submit your soups to Deb at Kahakai Kitchen, she runs a Souper Sunday group. http://kahakaikitchen.blogspot.com/2009/01/souper-sundays-details-and-guidelines.html

    • Thanks for the website – I’ll take a look.

  4. Great looking soup and it’s the perfect time of the year. You would cringe when I make soup, I’ve even been known to use an immersion blender for some of my soups. But I’d eat this one just as is. Of course, you can’t go wrong with bacon!

    • I need to put Immersion Blender on my Christmas List, I’ve wanted one for years. And when I get one – WATCH OUT! 🙂

  5. I’m surprised it’s not snowing where I am, but I don’t think I’m as high up as you (3500ft). It’s close though! We’re getting a cold, miserable downpour right now – great soup weather!

    • Denver is at 5,280 and Highlands Ranch where I live, 30 miles south, is something like 6800 ft. It’s actually a beautiful day here today.

  6. I’m always looking for a good, hearty soup recipe and this looks like the one I’ve been looking for. 🙂 Yum!

  7. This looks delish! I love making soup when it cold out, too. I look forward to your soup posts, cause I’m always on the lookout for new recipes :). Keep em coming!

  8. Your soup sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  9. Sorry to hear that you’re still suffering after that bizarre flying man incident. I’m the same as you with soup. Winter is soup season most definitely and this looks just the ticket-restorative and tasty! 🙂

    • Thanks NQN – just wait, I’ll be pulling out the big gun soup recipes soon.

  10. All right, here’s my hot kick for when it’s cold…not soup, I’ll leave that to normal people.

    Throw about 15 ripe tomatillos in boiling water w/ sea salt. They’re done when the first one tries to split open. Then toss them into a processor with serrano peppers (the canned ones actually have the right flavor vs. fresh ones being just plain hot, use a whole small can) and a handful of finely chopped sweet onion and only a smidge of garlic. Secret ingredient, two pinches of white sugar that you don’t tell anyone about. Whir it all up in the processor and grab some chips. Game on.

    The nice thing is, since the tomas are boiled, it’s a way hot dip. Num. Right when it’s freshly made is best for a cool fall day.

    uh oh. I think I just party-fouled. I just stuck a recipe on someone else’s food page. Major infraction.

  11. That soup looks delicious. The broth sounds perfect – and with bacon, rosemary and thyme . . . mmmm. I’m in California visiting my daughter sans cookbooks, so I may try that recipe this week. She loves a good bean soup. I just got my immersion blender last week because I saw them on sale and have been wanting one forever for some of my soup recipes. It will so beat using the potato masher or worse, straining and pureeing in the food processor. Some recipes just have to be creamy! Tasty post!

    • P.S. I just found out that if you abbreviate wordpress as worpress you link to a much different site. Oops. 🙂

  12. That looks so hearty! Would be great with some croutons or garlic bread.
    Nothing wrong with cooking so late 🙂 I’m sauteing mushrooms and boiling some potatoes for tomorrow (and it’s almost 10)

    • Thanks for stopping by my blog! Yum…garlic bread would be perfect.

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