Monday, January 24, 2011

Bean with Bacon Soup

A hardy soup of navy beans with a mirepoix of veggies and plenty of bacon flavor.

Bean with Bacon Soup

I've had this Bean with Bacon soup on my mind for awhile now since the canned version of Campbells is one of The Cajun's favorite. Since the dry beans had been hanging around the pantry waiting for me to write this soup recipe, I decided to go ahead and make it this weekend.

Now, fair warning. This is a bean with bacon soup, so seeing as bacon is a primary ingredient, well... I used a full package of bacon for a pound of beans. I wanted PUH-lenty of bacon flavor, so don't go scoffing at me okay? Use what you want - even 4 slices would probably still make a nice flavorful soup - but I say go for it.

While I'm on this thought, isn't it super aggravating how some manufacturers have changed the familiar one pound package of bacon to 12-ounces so that it still looks like we are buying a pound of bacon? We're actually paying what we used to pay for a full pound and getting less and guess what? It's happening with a lot of the products we buy and it infuriates me. Do they seriously think we consumers don't notice this? {tucking away the soapbox now}

You really need a good base for this soup in order to get the full pork flavor, so I recommend using a good ham bone or several ham hocks and taking the time to make a flavorful stock, which can be made ahead. It will really make a huge difference. This time I happened to have 4 cups of frozen pork broth that was leftover from the last time I made the cheater pulled pork (the boiled version, not the crockpot one) that I used in place of the stock here. Though not as full flavored as the ham bone stock, it really did boost the pork flavor for this soup. Another good reason to do a cheater pulled pork that way!

For the rest of the liquid, use plain water or even a combination of water and a vegetable, pork or chicken broth. You can certainly make this with only water or a combination of water and commercial broths, however you will not have the full pork flavor that will make it like the canned version we all love so much.

I have to say, while this soup may not be a perfect match to the red and white can, it sure turned out delicious and pretty darned close in flavor. The Cajun loved it, and even said it had more bacon flavor than the canned. If you ask me, there ain't a thing bad about that!

Recipe: Bean with Bacon Soup

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min |Cook time: 2 hours | Yield: About 6 to 8 servings


For the Stock:
  • 1 large meaty hambone or 3 ham hocks
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 2 whole celery ribs with leaves, rinsed and cut into large chunks
  • 2 large carrots, unpeeled, rinsed and cut into large chunks
  • 1 large onion, unpeeled and quartered
  • 4 sprigs of fresh parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon of whole peppercorns
For the Soup:
  • 1 pound bag of dry navy (pea) beans
  • 1 pound of bacon, divided
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 1/2 of a 6-ounce can of tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
  • 8 turns of the pepper grinder
  • Pinch of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon of chicken base (like Better Than Bouillon)
  • 4 cups of pork, vegetable, chicken stock or broth, or water, or any combination
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Liquid Smoke (like Colgin), optional
  • Couple dashes of red pepper flakes, or Creole or Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), optional
  • Hot sauce, for the table

The night before, place the beans into a pot or large bowl, cover with water and let soak overnight. For the stock, place ham bone or hocks in a large stockpot and cover with water. Add the remaining stock ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Strain, reserving the bone and stock; discard vegetables. Once cooled, pick off any meat from the bone, reserving the meat and discarding the bone.

When ready to cook, drain the beans and set aside. Use kitchen shears to cut the bacon into pieces into a soup pot or Dutch oven; cook over medium high heat until softened but not crisp. Remove about 1/3 of the bacon to reserve for garnish. Add the onion, carrots and celery to the remaining bacon; cook and stir until softened about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and the tomato paste. Cook and stir until the tomato paste begins to slightly brown. Add the drained beans; stir. Add in the salt, pepper, thyme, and bay leaf; stir in the chicken base, reserved ham stock along with 4 additional cups of either water, stock or broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 2 hours or until the beans are tender. The last 10 minutes of cooking, remove 2 cups of the soup and whirl it in a blender until creamy. Add back to the soup pot. Add the Liquid Smoke and pepper flakes or Cajun seasoning, if desired. Garnish with reserved bacon.

Add a sandwich or a nice mixed garden salad with a slice of cornbread. Pass hot sauce at the table.

Cook's Notes: I use Camellia brand navy beans; may also use northern beans. The stock may be made ahead and refrigerated, or shortcut the process by using a ham concentrate or base, such as Better Than Bouillon.


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Posted by on January 24, 2011
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  1. This soup looks delicious...I can only imagine the wonderful taste. This a side salad and a crusty loaf of bread and as my Grandmother would say, "who is better than us." Blessings, Catherine

  2. Hi Mary, This looks so yummy!!!! Tracie

    PS. I made the BBQ chicken in the oven last week - It was so very good! I made potato salad and corn to go with it. Sure made this WV girl - who is cold and sick of snow - wish for summer.

  3. I love the canned version of this soup. Your homemade risen looks delish!

  4. I have searched the web lately for a recipe to make the "red & white can" soup. Found nothing with ingredients I would use or sounded like they would produce said product. This one does. I will try this very, very soon. Thanks!

  5. I'm all about this! It's like baked beans in a soup!

  6. The only scoffing I'll do is to ask why you didn't use the full pound of bacon? ;)

    Sounds delish...but your recipes always do!

  7. No scoffing here...Love bacon and this soup sounds so good.

  8. I love the campbell's stuff too, I can only imagine how much better this is!

  9. Oh my Dad would be in heaven! He loves the stuff. One day soon I'm gonna try this recipe Mary. Thanks

  10. White beans, lot's of bacon, good broth - I can imagine it being nearly as good as Campbell's :-)

  11. just scrolling through your recipes getting ideas... I made a corn and potato soup this week and it went over so well I am thinking of doing the crab and corn chowder this weekend! Thanks for the recipe!

    But I posted here because I used a "pound" of bacon in my potato soup and it only called for 4 slices.

    Uh obviously the author of that recipe is not from the MS Gulf Coast! We like our seafood, bacon and flavor! Yes I am from the MS Gulf Coast too! BSL here. Love your blog. :)

  12. Mary, We had this for dinner last night - it was absolutely awesome!!!! Now I am going to have leftovers for lunch! Enjoy! Tracie

  13. Thanks Tracie! I'm so glad you enjoyed it and thanks so much for taking the time to come back and comment!!

  14. OH so so awesome again, thank you so much. It is going to be stormy and cold tomorrow, and I have this and homemade bread.

    And I did all my chores today, so I can do your chicken and noodles and knit tomorrow. YEAH!!!!!

    First real cold front of the season, so it is time to enjoy it.

  15. Sounds like a lovely day!! Glad you enjoyed the soup. I have been wanting homemade bread all day today! Since I finally got a new post up, I might just do that tomorrow!

  16. Hello There. Made the soup tonight, as I was love Campbell's canned version & have been looking for a recipe for a long time. I didn't have pork broth so used chicken broth. I thought it just ok, nothing special, and not as good as Campbell's -- they probably use some secret seasoning in their recipe.

    1. Sorry to hear that because while I didn't claim it to be an exact copycat, I thought it was a very tasty substitute myself, and frankly so did my husband. I wish you would have shared whether you did follow the recipe exactly or made substitutes or left anything out. I did use the water from boiling a pork roast for my pulled pork recipe here, so I'm sure that improved the flavor a bit, but I'd hardly say that the soup was just "okay" - at least in my opinion. I thought that it was a very flavorful soup myself! I hate that it didn't meet your expectation though, but thank you for coming back to share your thoughts about it.

  17. We loved it! I used the pressure cooker and it was done in 20 minutes!

  18. We loved it! Followed all the directions right up until the 2 hour cook time, instead I used the pressure cooker and it was done in 15 mins. :)

    1. Thank you Minda!! I just got one of those electronic pressure cookers for Christmas last year and I've not used it one time that I didn't LOVE it! I always thought everything would taste boiled but not so - just depends on the prep and how you season. I'm thrilled to know that this one came out well in the PC - thanks for letting me know!!

  19. Loved the recipe! only thing I changed was the pork broth. I used "Goya's, Ham flavored concentrate. worked well in a pinch! Thanks for a great recipe.

  20. I have what may seem a silly question, but want to make sure I make it right the first time. So for the soup, I am too use all the stock that I made with the ham bone and 4 additional cups of stock?

    1. If you're making the homemade stock, that will reduce down a bit after simmering. You should end up with roughly 1 to 1-1/2 quarts of concentrated stock. I add about another quart to that of other liquid - either water with a ham base blended in, plain water, even chicken stock will work. Remember that is going to cook down even more as the beans cook in the liquid and that will concentrate more again, so you don't want to end up with stew rather than a soup. Course all of this depends on how thin or thick that you like your soups!

  21. Going to make a vegetarian version-rich homemade roasted veggie stock, Liquid aminos instead of chicken base for flavor and fire roasted veggies instead of of fake Liquid Smoke. Lots of Thyme and Summer Savory, too! Yummmm-who needs Bacon!?

    1. Well okay Angie - I hope it turns out well! I like chicken and I like chicken base. I also like Liquid Smoke, which by the way isn't "fake." And I truly do love me some bacon! Sooooo while I am not a vegetarian, nor is this site anything near a vegetarian based recipe site, I am sure your soup will be delicious. It's just not going to be THIS recipe OR bean with bacon when it's all said and done. :) Best of luck with your recipe though. You should really consider starting a vegetarian blog to share your cooking talents!


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