Cooking with Carmen: White Bean and Bacon Soup and

 A few things were tweeked for the article. Here is the link.
I would serve this soup with a lovely corn bread. The Joy of Cooking recipe is our go too.
Check out the link!

 White Bean and Bacon Soup

1 lb bag dried white beans (Navy or Great Northern)
1 ham hock
2 cartons of low sodium chicken stock or broth
1 medium onion small dice
3 or 4 cloves of garlic minced or crushed
1 red pepper small dice
2 carrots small dice
2 ribs of celery small dice
¼ cup thick cut maple bacon small dice and rendered (about 4 or 5 slices)
¼ cup ham small dice
4 or 5 stems fresh thyme
½ lemon (zest)
½ lemon (juice)
olive oil
Fresh parsley chopped
salt and pepper to taste

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven soak beans just covered in water over night. Drain the water; add ham bone, and two cartons of chicken stock. Cook over medium to low heat until tender. While the beans cook render bacon. Drain fat and set aside. Sauté aromatics and in olive oil (adding garlic towards end to prevent burning.) Add aromatics to soup pot. Add thyme. Dice ham, and add ham and rendered bacon to soup pot.  Remove two cups of tender beans and mash beans with a potato masher and add them back to the pot. They will make the soup feel creamy and thick without cream or butter!

If you have time to cook this all day, do so, or make it in your crock-pot over 8 hours or so. It gets better over time. The next day it’s even tastier. At the end of cooking add Lemon zest, juice, and parsley. Of course season with salt and pepper as you go, with the amount of ham it can get salty, so be careful not to over salt.

This recipe can be made with canned beans, and without the ham bone (but it wont be as tasty.) Make sure you don’t skimp on the bacon, and really it’s worth the extra trip to the butcher though for that bone. The lemon juice, zest and parsley are not to be missed they give the soup wonderful brightness.
Even Keels