Sunday, December 16, 2012

Bean Soup with Bacon, Chicken and Pesto

I have been so hungry for soup lately!   Maybe it's the weather, maybe my it's my need for comfort food -  I don't know.  But soup, soup, soup is all I've been thinking about.  

Except for eggnog.   I've been thinking about eggnog.  

Also, fruitcake, which I love, and which probably makes me a freak to most of the English speaking world and, now that I think about it, probably all of the French speaking world.  It's true, though.  I've been thinking about fruitcake.  Please don't stop reading the blog because you know this about me now.

Even though I love fruitcake and eggnog, they only go so far before they leave you quivering on the floor in a sugar induced coma.   I don't know about you, but I just don't have time for a sugar induced coma.  Which is why I've been thinking about soup.

I'm pretty sure that soup prevents sugar induced comas.   Yet another reason to love soup.

I have a great recipe for Clam Chowder that I got from a college roommate [Thanks, Julie!].    I love the Hungarian Mushroom Soup that's in The New Moosewood Cookbook.  I also love Chili.  And Minestrone - without the pasta, so I guess it's not really minestrone, it's sort of an Italian style Vegetable Soup.   Whatever.       But I want more variety in my soups so I picked up a couple of soup books from the library.

I love the library.  There was a Whole Shelf full of soup books at the library - and those were just the ones that weren't checked out.   When they're all in, I bet they have Two Whole Shelves of books about soup.  Maybe even Three.    Which means there's a whole world of soup out there that I've been missing.    

Don't you think?

At any rate, I fell in love with one of the soup books I brought home.   Fell. In. Love.    And since I know you want to know which one it was, I'm going to tell you.  

Ta-DA!     My new favorite cookbook!   Knack Soup Classics: Chowders, Gumbos, Bisques, Broths, Stocks, and Other Delicious Soups

Chowders! Bisques! Gumbos!    Now we're talking.

I love this book.  It's simple and covers all the basics, which means it's a good way to learn how to make your own soups. 

And so I did.

Bean Soup with Bacon, Chicken and Pesto
  • 1/2 lb bacon, cooked until crisp, cooled and crumbled
  • 2 T butter or bacon grease
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
  • a handful of dried rat tail radishes or celery or both
  • 2 cans great northern beans
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed [Brown them in the bacon grease!]
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • a couple of grinds of black pepper 
  • pesto.   Here's how we make our pesto.
Fry the bacon first, then set it aside to cool.    Saute the onion, garlic and carrots in the butter or bacon grease until soft.  Add the remaining ingredients, except the pesto.   Heat through and simmer for an hour.    Serve with a spoon full of pesto stirred in.      Makes 8 servings.

It's really tasty!   Everyone here loved it - even the I Don't Eat Beans kid.   I think the bacon had something to do with that.

If you don't have dried celery or radishes, then use a stalk or two of fresh celery.   Or leave it out.   We never have fresh celery around, so we started buying a big bunch and dehydrating it to use in soups.   Just chop it up and toss it in the dehydrator and dry it until it's crispy.   Store it in a jar or in a bag in the freezer.    


  1. It's the weather...I've been in a soup mood too. Had hubby made me tortilla soup a couple of days ago. :) I need some chowder now.

    I can't stand fruitcake because it's so heavy...but I like the bread cousin of it: Stollen (Stolle de Noel). I'll be making that later this week, I hope.

    Let me know when your 9 weeks with the soup book is up and I'll borrow it after you. ;)

    1. Hahaha! You sure have me pegged! I'm all over the 'renew until they come to your house with armed guards to get it back' strategy of using library books.

    2. I totally get that strategy; I've done it too. Armed guards...LOL!


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