Amber’s White Bean, Bacon, and Rosemary Soup

I spent the better part of 7 years in the south. While I try to lead a healthy lifestyle, I’ll admit, I have a penchant for bacon. There is just something about it -- I’ve always liked it, but it is amazing for infusing flavor. Oh lard, how wonderful you are. This soup uses the touch of bacon to go the extra mile. My friend Amber introduced me to it back in my Vicksburg days. This is my version of her version of the White Bean and Bacon soup that was originally published in Food and Wine.

½ lb bacon
Olive oil, as needed
1 celery heart, coarsely chopped
¾ bag of baby carrots, coarsely chopped
1 medium sweet onion, coarsely chopped
1 carton chicken stock
2 cans canellini beans, drained and rinsed
Salt & Pepper to taste

In the bottom of your large stockpot or dutch oven cook the bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon and drain. Remove the majority of the grease, leaving a couple of teaspoons at the bottom of the pot.

While the bacon is cooking chop the vegetables -- the idea is to have somewhere around equal parts carrots, celery, and onions. After the bacon is done add olive oil as needed and cook the vegetables for a few minutes until soft.

Add the chicken stock, beans, rosemary, and thyme to the pot. I think that Amber’s recipe called for about 2 tbl of each -- I think these are some of the stars in the recipe, so I add as much as I feel like. Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer for 30 min (or longer). Salt and pepper to taste prior to serving. Garnish with chopped up bacon and enjoy!

OK, a little commentary. This recipe is absolutely nothing new to me. However, it is probably one of my favorite foods at this time of year. I love the beans, the bacon, the rosemary, and the thyme. I am a soup girl and this is one of my soups. The one thing I’ve toyed with is actually adding the rosemary and thyme to the olive oil and bacon renderings mixture prior to adding the veggies. I think this could really make this soup even more amazing, which I previously thought was impossible. If you try just one soup this winter, I might heartily recommend this one. I’m not sure if this was better than previously, if it always this good, or perhaps being in real wintery weather made it even more comforting and delicious.

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