Saturday, October 5, 2013

One Pot White Bean, Escarole and Bacon Soup


 

Two years ago my friend Jo brought me this soup, and I never stopped thinking about it!  It's perfect for fall- it has the smoky bacon, hearty starchiness from the beans, a light broth with fresh herbs and escarole, and it would be awesome for dipping some fresh crusty bread in.


1 large onion, roughly chopped
3 whole garlic cloves, minced
1 sprig sage
1 large sprig rosemary
1 pkg dried white beans or 3-4 cans (I used one can of butter beans and 2 cans of cannolini, next time I might use more!)
3 quarts low-sodium chicken stock
1 package bacon or thick sliced pancetta, cut into 2-inch strips
1 head of escarole, chopped
olive oil
salt & pepper
 
Rinse canned beans in a colander or soak dry beans according to instructions on the package, drain and set aside.

In a large pot, sautee the bacon over medium-high heat until crispy.  Remove bacon and set aside.  Reduce the heat and add the garlic to the bacon fat and cook for 1-2 minutes, then finally the chopped onion continue to sautee over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are clear.

Add the beans, broth and fresh herbs and let simmer over medium-low heat for about half an hour, or until beans reach desired tenderness.


at this point I realized I needed to move to the giant stock pot

Next, use a slotted spoon to remove about 1/2 cup (or more if you like) of the beans only.  Puree in a blender with a little of the broth.  This gives the otherwise thin broth a great touch of starchiness, so the thicker you like it, the more beans you can puree.  Add back to the pot along with the chopped escarole and bacon.





















At this point you can turn off the heat, put a lid on the pot and let the escarole wilt into the soup.  I wait until the end to season with salt and pepper too, to make sure the salt content isn't too high from the bacon and broth.


And then enjoy!



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