Over the years I have purchased a wide assortment of dried beans. Each time I’ve used whatever I needed for a specific recipe, closed up the bag, and stacked it in the cupboard. Now, after several years, I don’t just have “some beans” in the cupboard, I have a BEAN CUPBOARD.
Some people collect Precious Moments, and I collect dried beans. And still, I win.
Dried beans are a great thing to have on hand, but using them requires a bit of planning. My favorite way to prep beans is to brine them. It just couldn’t be easier and consistently produces a tender and well-seasoned bean. Brining beans works basically like this: mix water and salt, add beans, let sit for good while, rinse, then cook. Done. And that’s exactly what I did when making this soup. In the morning I brined the beans and by the time I was ready to make the soup for dinner they were ready to go.
This soup is very hearty, flavorful, and tasty. It is stick-to-your-ribs thick, so feel free to add more stock or water to bring it to the consistency that you like. If you save it and reheat it, you’ll definitely want to add more water. Between the brining and the bacon, this is a fairly salty soup so be sure to give it a check before adding any more at the end. And although it doesn’t fit my official criteria for a low-calorie item, it comes in awfully close at 309 calories/serving. Plus, there’s bacon in it.
Make some; it’s delicious.
4 c. water
1/4 c. Kosher salt
1 c. dried pinto beans
1 c. dried cannellini beans
2 strips pepper bacon
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
5 c. chicken stock
1 c. carrots, sliced
In a large bowl, stir together water and salt until salt is dissolved. Add dried beans, and let sit at least 4 hours up to overnight. After soaking, remove beans from brine and rinse. Set aside.
In a dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove and set aside. Add onion and garlic, reduce heat to medium-low and cook about 5 minutes or until it is golden in color. Slowly add stock, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom. Increase heat, add beans, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 60 minutes or until the beans are tender.
Using a potato masher, mash some beans to help thicken the soup. Crumble the bacon and add to the soup, add carrots, and cook covered for 15 minutes or until the carrots are tender.
Estimated Calories: 309 cal/serving
Print it: Bean and Bacon Soup