Monday, 1 February 2016

Bacon and Cannellini Bean Soup

I love soup, especially when it's dark, cold and rainy outside. This was inspired by some navy beans that were being cooked at work; they looked and smelled so good. I knew that I had a bit of bacon and some chicken stock in the freezer, and as I was due to shop for produce I could use the last couple of carrots, the one russet potato and the onion in the soup. I added in some frozen corn, made some cheese biscuits and a hearty, tummy warming soup was ready to go!

I now had an empty fridge, with the chance to load up with totally new produce. This is always a good feeling, especially when I've used it all, instead of throwing some of it away.

In a large pot, cook:

4 rashers of bacon, diced
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
3 cloves of garlic, halved
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Cook until the bacon is crispy, being careful not to burn the garlic.

Turn the heat down to low.


1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1/3 zucchini, diced

Cook until the vegetables are soft.

Add enough flour to coat the vegetables lightly when it is all mixed in. Cook over medium heat, stirring for 2 minutes.


4 cups of chicken stock...or enough to cover the vegetables.

Bring to a boil.


1 russet potato, diced
3/4 cup frozen corn

Cook until the potato is tender.

Stir in:

1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Simmer until all the vegetables are tender. Taste and adjust seasoning. I served the soup with cheese biscuits.

  • I used the bacon for its smoky flavour, saltiness and fat, which was used to cook the vegetables and as part of the thickening process along with the flour. I did not add any salt until I tasted and adjusted the seasoning just before serving, as the bacon added quite a bit.
  • The bacon can be removed and drained on paper towel, the bacon fat can be discarded and butter or olive oil can be used instead to cook the vegetables.
  • The garlic was left in large pieces to avoid burning. It can be chopped or minced, but I wanted the flavour to be a bit more subtle. During the cooking process the garlic breaks down and blends into the broth.
  • Thyme is another herb that would work in this soup.
  • Other vegetables that can be added include rutabaga, leeks and sweet potato. Chopped canned or fresh tomatoes can also be added.
  • Instead of chunks of potato, you can add cooked barley, rice or pasta just before serving. I prefer to add them at the end as the longer the grains sit in the soup the more of the liquid they absorb, ending up in very large, soft pieces.
  • Any beans can be, black, garbanzo or kidney. 
  • This soup served 6 people. Leftovers can be frozen.


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