I love Campbell’s soups. Like, A LOT. Tomato, Chicken Noodle, Cream of Potato, and especially BEAN and BACON! My mom always had Campbell’s on hand when I was younger, and I can remember shopping on my own in college and getting a TON of Campbell’s soups (especially the ones with the drinkable lids on them! how handy!) for the week.
So, we all know they have a TON of salt in them, right? They are not very healthy at all…no matter how much my taste buds say they are. 🙂 I keep the tomato soup cans in our emergency food supply (and sneak a can out now and then to enjoy during nap time as my late lunch, until the big girls see me and beg for some!), but other than that I don’t use them in the kitchen regularly. The “cream of…” soups can easily be made from scratch. No, they don’t taste exactly the same, but it is most likely because I don’t dump 4 tablespoons of salt into mine!
Anywho, I am getting off-track. While those soups are convenient and delicious, they really don’t do anything for our bodies. So, last week I decided to try something. I had bean and barley soup on the menu but decided to change it a bit to make Bean and Bacon Soup. I love barley, but I really had a craving for bacon and couldn’t find a way to eat a bunch and still get a healthy meal put together…until I changed the soup!
I was nervous about it. My husband questioned my decision…quite a bit. BUT, it turned out so good. It tasted super salty, but I didn’t even salt it! It was just the saltiness of the bacon that flavored it! I am so happy with it, that I am considering changing our bean and barley soup scheduled for this week. 🙂 My husband had 2 bowls of it, the kids all ate it up, and we had leftovers for lunches! That is success on all accounts!
So, here it is…my BEAN AND BACON SOUP: (this makes quite a bit of soup, fed all 7 of us – some had two helpings – and we had leftovers. Adjust to meet your needs)
1 package bacon (i think mine was 12 ounces, but it was a nitrate-free kind, so just go with whatever size package you regularly buy…unless you want to get healthy about it…then buy a nitrate-free kind or buy local. Mmmm.)
1/2 onion, chopped
Beans (I used what I had on the shelf in cans. One 28 ounce can of pinto beans and Two 15 ounce cans of cannellini. Next time, I think I would do dry beans and make it an all-day-cooking soup!) – we like beans a lot, but if you want less, then don’t put in 58 ounces of beans like I did!!
1/2 cup finely diced carrots
1/4 cup finely diced celery
Black Pepper, to taste
1 tsp minced garlic – more or less, depending on your preference
8-10 cups low sodium chicken broth – I used the Aldi Organic Low Sodium Chicken Broth because I didn’t feel like defrosting my homemade broth…because I didn’t take it out in time and would have to do it in the microwave, blah, blah, blah. I was lazy. Also, if you are using less beans, you won’t need as much broth.
1. Chop bacon into small pieces (like 1″). Cook in large stockpot until as crispy as desired. I left ours a little chewy because some of our family members like it a little fatty/chewy.
2. Add onion and cook with bacon until very tender. Add in carrots and celery and cook until tender (onion might caramelize a little here. it’s ok, so delicious!). I added in the veggies at different times because the bottom of the pot didn’t let me have a single layer of the veggies, and I didn’t feel like stirring constantly to make sure they all got evenly cooked. Again, lazy.
3. Add in garlic and cook for another minute or two. Then slowly pour in broth, less is better here, and bring to boil. Add in beans and more broth, if needed. Bring back to boil. Then turn heat to medium-low and simmer until dinner time. Ours simmered for about 45 minutes after this last step. I think I will do an all-day simmer next time! Add pepper here, too. Or don’t. It doesn’t change the flavor that much.
I made iron skillet cornbread to go with this. SO good!