Bacon and Navy Bean Soup will warm you up. The cold weather that much of the US is experiencing, calls for comfort food. The smell of it will set off your taste buds, long before the first spoonful. There’s a reason that the bean with bacon soup in that red and white can has been popular for many years. I ate it as a kid with a grilled cheese sandwich all the time. Today, I won’t touch it, not when I can make my own delicious soup that is 100 times better.
I hope you take the time to make this. You can make it on the stove or in a slow cooker. I actually prefer to do it on the stove. That might be, because I don’t always plan ahead for using a slow cooker. It also might be due to my slow cooker being stored out of the way and it just seems like a pain to get it out. But you can cook this soup any way you find easiest.
I chopped my celery, carrots and onions all at the same time in my food processor, quick, easy and done in a flash! I have found that if you start with similar sized hunks, you can end up with like sized chopped pieces. Garlic I usually cut with a knife or I use a Microplane, one of my favorite tools in the kitchen.
If you are not convinced that this is one of the best soups ever, here’s one more picture….
Bacon and Navy Bean Soup
1 (16 ounce) package dried navy beans
1 pound bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
3 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
6 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the dried navy beans:
Overnight Soak: Rinse and sort the beans. Add 6-8 cups of cold water to 1 pound of dried beans. Let stand overnight or at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse the beans.
Quick Soak Method: Rinse and sort the beans. Add 6-8 cups of water to 1 pound of dried beans. Bring water to a boil, boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat; cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse the beans.
For the soup:
In a large dutch oven or soup pot, over medium heat, cook bacon pieces until crisp and lightly colored. Remove bacon and reserve 1 Tablespoon of the bacon grease in the pan. Add onion, celery and carrots. Cook 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer.
Add chicken stock, bay leaf, cooked bacon, salt and pepper and the drained navy beans. Cover and cook over low heat 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Stir occasionally and add water if it gets too thick. I like mine thick so I don’t usually have to add water. Remove the bay leaf and adjust seasonings. You can use a potato masher or a stick blender, to mash the soup if you want it creamy, or serve as is. For the soup pictured, I used my stick blender a little.
NOTE: You can also cook this in a slow cooker for 8-10 hours on medium.