Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bean with Bacon Soup

 I have had to give up many things because of my MSG-intolerance. Most salad dressings, flavored chips or crackers, dips, frozen food, restaurant food, and canned soups contain some form or another of this food additive. As hard as it is to give up things that I like, it is even worse when those items are comfort foods, those things that you ate while you grew up. One of those items, for me, is bean with bacon soup. The canned version that I grew up eating became one of the items that I had to give up, and I really missed it, until I decided that it was time to make it from scratch.

I wont pretend that this taste just like the canned version, I honestly don't know exactly what that would taste like anymore, since it hasn't been in my pantry for several years. I use all organic, and it has been a huge hit, but I swear the reason it is so tasty is the bacon stock. Bear in mind that while I spend hours mincing onions, carrots, celery, and bacon, I just don't think this soup would have the same depth without it. Here's a link to my "Frugal File" on Bacon Stock.

Feel free to adjust amounts of any vegetables to suit your own taste

3 cups navy beans (I soak mine for app. 2 days, periodically draining them and rinsing with fresh filtered water)
6-8 cups of filtered water (substitute 4 cups of bacon stock)
¾- 1 package of bacon (browned and minced)
3 medium carrots (minced)
3 stalks of celery (minced)
onion (minced)
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp basil
½ tsp garlic powder
4-6 oz tomato sauce
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Soak beans at least overnight (if longer, periodically drain and add fresh water). Drain and rinse. Add water and bacon stock, bacon, carrots, celery, onion, thyme, basil, garlic powder, tomato sauce, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Simmer until beans are tender. Puree 1-2 cups of soup and add it back into the soup. Add balsamic vinegar and salt to taste.


jaymieg said...


Hey! I was looking for a post of yours that contained a way to cook beans and I came across this one. It looks amazing!

I want to give up canned beans (chili, soups, burritos, etc). However, each time I try the beans are too hard. I've tried soaking them overnight, but they still seem to be harder than anyone likes.

How do you do it? Do you heat them and then let them soak? I see you soak them for 2 days in filtered water. My fridge has a filter for the water. Would that be good enough?

Thanks for your input! I'm making baby steps here, but this would be a huge one to make.

Also, I have a boatload of fresh basil, dill and mint right now. No pesticides at all. We're just growing it from seed. If you want any just let me know!


Heidi a/k/a Thistle said...

Hey Jaymie,

I had the same problem when I first started using dried beans. I soak them first and then cook them at a good boil (stirring frequently and adding water as needed-you definitely don't want to forget them when they are cooking at the pace) for ½-1 hour, then turn down and let them simmer. Even doing this, I often let them cook for hours.

I have been told not to salt until close to the end of cooking, so I wait until 3/4 of the way through cooking (it is supposed to keep the beans from rehydrating if you salt too early). One other factor is the age of the beans, according to my understanding dried beans should be stored airtight for up to 12 months (I vacuum seal dry in jars, so I might not follow that 100%, but still, they CAN get old). I am including a link to the dry bean council and I hope their FAQ's prove useful to you: according to this page, hold off on the tomato until "near the end of cooking time".

I hope I have been some help, although I have to confess that I am no expert. That is so sweet of you to offer me some spices, maybe we could arrange a swap, although my stash is mostly dried spices, since my thumb is any color but green (and I am totally intimidated by trying to grow anything, LOL).


Heidi a/k/a Thistle said...

Oh, and Jaymie, I would think the filter from the fridge should be fine. I either use my fridge filer, or we also have a separate tap for filtered water.

The next best advice I can say is to start early, and let them cook well. I find that beans are like chicken stock. . . .just stuff in water until that one magic moment when they BECOME something worth eating. They don't care about your schedule, or impatience, they just putter along like Yoda, and then suddenly they jump up and do something, LOL!


jaymieg said...

Thank you! Well, next week when I am home more I am going to try what you suggested with the beans. I'll start with a new bag just to be sure. It would be awesome to get away from those cans!

You could grow herbs in a small pot. They are really, really easy. I promise. One packet of seeds has us knee deep in basil right now with just a bit of earth and water. Just buy a few small pots and a bag of organic soil and you'd be good to go. I just threw mine in the ground so you can use GA clay too:)

I'd be more than happy to just give you some. And we'll have cucumbers out of our ears soon as well. Once again, very safely grown.

Thanks for your advice. I'm going to keep plugging along! When it gets to soup season I'm going to make this recipe as well!


Heidi a/k/a Thistle said...

I'll have to stop being such a chicken about planting some seeds (I even have some pots and organic soil). If I can set up a table in front on one window I think they'll even get enough sunlight. Let me know how it goes with the beans. I am actually overdo to hit the bulk bins for beans and other staples.

I'd love some basil, and I need to post my recipe for a simple mandoline cucumber salad and some more soups.