March 12, 2013

Bean and Bacon Soup

I realize that I haven't touched this blog, or even thought of it really, for about one week. I needed some time. Did ya miss me?

The truth is I have decided to post on Tuesdays and Thursdays now instead of Monday, Wednesday, Friday. That's right, only two posts per week instead of three. At some point I just realized that even though I love this blog I want to spend much less time on it allowing me more time to do other things.

I'd like to watch my baby boy learn how to walk or attempt to re-teach myself how to play the violin (which up until yesterday I hadn't picked up in 2 1/2 years--- I was really rusty guys, really). Heaven forbid I have a little time to paint my nails or sew myself a blouse. I do have other hobbies. I'm no one trick pony.

What I am trying to say here is with a ten month old and a husband, and a house tiny apartment to take care of literally all of my free time was either being spent at the gym or on this blog. I'd like to open up some more of that free time for other things that I would normally do and enjoy. Capiche? Two times a week, not three. I think we can all handle that.

Now onto the food. I realize it's not exactly winter anymore but if you live in a place like I do, then you might have noticed that even though it looks really pretty outside its a wee bit chilly still. Which is precisely why I am sharing one of my all time favorite soup recipes with you here today.

Bean and BACON Soup. I'm sold. Just the word bacon alone had me hooked.

Bean and Bacon Soup

Recipe Source: adapted ever so slightly from Our Best Bites

16 slices of bacon
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (8 oz) package diced ham
2 red potatoes, washed, peeled, and diced small
2 (15 oz) cans great northern beans or navy beans
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika or smoked paprika *we like it with smoked paprika, but in a pinch regular paprika works
1/2 salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 (32 oz) box chicken broth *such as Swanson
2-3 teaspoons liquid smoke, to taste

Cook and crumble bacon. Reserve half of the bacon for garnish. Using one tablespoon of the bacon grease, saute the onion and garlic in a large pot for 2-3 minutes. Add the ham, potatoes, beans, paprika, salt, and pepper then stir to combine.

Pour chicken broth over these ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and let cook until potatoes are tender (15-20 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the non-reserved half of the bacon (hopefully you haven't eaten it all at this point) and the liquid smoke. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until its cream but still has chunks. If you don't have an immersion blender, you can remove half of the soup into a regular blender and puree it completely. Then stir the soupy puree back into the pot.

Serves 8. Garnish each serving with 1/8 of the remaining bacon and some crunchy croutons if you so desire.

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