What kind of soup did you eat as a kid? I can remember the red and white Campbell’s Soup cans of tomato, chicken noodle and bean & bacon. My brother and I would roll in from some hard playtime in a foot of freshly fallen snow, and a good amount of icicle eating, to hot bowls of soup and Saltine crackers.
I gave up icicle eating long ago (eww, rain gutter water!), plus there’s no snow here in Arizona, but when I do come in from a cold, strenuous hike, I need some soup to sooth my achy muscles.
The smokey heft of the bacon, fortifying the soup, made creamy by pureeing some beans and broth. This is the grown up version of bean & bacon soup, with layers of flavor, between the bacon, chicken stock and rosemary. Chock-a-block full of beans, unlike it’s Campbell’s counterpart. There is something comforting and simple about homemade soup. It’s not too difficult and can be broken down in small portion, frozen for later. Paired with crunchy, chewy crostini, chopped rosemary suspended in the cheese, melted into every crease.
Bean & Bacon Soup with Rosemary-Gruyère Crostini
Bean & Bacon Soup
2# Great Northern Beans (soak overnight before use)
2 TBSP. Olive Oil
1# Bacon (1/2# Chopped, 1/2# Reserved for later to crisp up for garnish)
1 Medium Sweet Onion, Diced
3 each Carrots, Sliced
2 qts. Chicken Broth
2 large sprigs Rosemary
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper, To Taste
1 Baguette, Sliced
Bean & Bacon Soup
Rinse beans and throw out any bad beans. Soak your beans over night.
The next day, heat your pot on the stove (I like to use my Le Creuset). Cut your 1/2# of bacon into small pieces. Cook the bacon, not all the way through (it should still be a bit chewy) and then place the cooked pieces on a paper towel lined plate, reserved for later.
Once you have cooked all the bacon, add the olive oil to the pot and saute the diced onions till translucent. Season with salt and pepper. Add back in cooked bacon, drained beans, sliced carrots, chicken broth, and sprigs of rosemary. Simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until beans are tender and stock has reduce a bit. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
Take a few ladles full of beans and a few ladles full of stock, and place into a separate bowl. Use an immersion blender, to puree. Add back to the soup and incorporate. Remove the twigs from the rosemary (the leaves should have fallen off and into the soup). Season with salt and pepper. Reheat if needed.
Cook up the remainder of the pound of bacon till crispy. Break into small pieces to garnish on top of soup.
This makes a lot of soup, so I portion out a few containers and freeze them for a later.
Turn the oven on to low broiler. Lightly drizzle olive oil on both sides of the sliced baguette pieces. Salt the tops and place on a pan, under the broiler. Toast till lightly golden. Remove from oven. Mix grated Gruyère and chopped rosemary. Top the flipped baguette slices, and place under the broiler again. Remove from oven when melted and golden. Eat immediately.