From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I'm happy to report that the annual flaming of the figgy pudding did not require fire department intervention. I'm also happy to report that the refrigerator is packed with leftovers, and, with any luck at all, I won't have to cook until Friday. I have a couple of wonderful recipes to share with you later in the week, but tonight I want to feature a soup I like to make during the holiday season. If you enjoy caldo gallego, the white-bean soup of Spain, I think you will love this riff on that old classic. It is delicious and easy to make, and, once the beans have been soaked, it comes together quickly. I'm not generally a fan of bean soups, but the liberal use of herbs and bacon puts this version in a class all its own. I'm probably committing heresy here, but I've found the developer's original call for more than a pound of bacon to be excessive. The real flavor in this soup comes from the use of bacon
Herbed White-Bean and Bacon Soup...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Food and Wine magazine
1-1/4 pounds thick-sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely diced
2 celery ribs, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 fresh bay leaf
2 teaspoons chopped thyme, divided use
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary, divided use
1 pound Great Northern beans, soaked overnight and drained
10 cups chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1) Cook bacon in a large soup pot set over moderate heat. Stir until browned and crisp, about 7 minutes. Drain, reserving the fat and bacon separately.
2) Heat olive oil in same soup pot. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in garlic, bay leaf and 1 teaspoon each of chopped thyme and rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add drained beans, stock and 3 tablespoons of reserved bacon fat and bring to a boil. Simmer soup over moderately low heat until beans are tender, about 1-1/2 hours.
3) Discard bay leaf and stir in the remaining thyme and rosemary. Season soup with salt and pepper and transfer to shallow bowls. Garnish soup with the bacon and serve. Yield: 12 servings.
Cook's Note: The soup and bacon can be refrigerated separately for up to 3 days. Recrisp the bacon before serving.
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Three Years Ago Today: Stuffed Flank Steak Spirals