Saturday, April 20, 2013

Ted Allen: Creamy White Bean Soup with Bacon

I'm not a big soup person.  So if I have soup, it needs to be really good soup.  But how can you tell ahead of time that the soup is actually going to live up to your high standards for soupness?  Well, considering this one has 1) bacon, 2) cream, and 3) lots of seasoning, I was pretty much sold.  And it certainly does deliver.  The original recipe had a crouton smeared with goat cheese floating on top, but honestly, more bacon makes it pretty much perfect.

Creamy White Bean Soup with Bacon
Adapted from Ted Allen in Food Network magazine

2 strips applewood smoked bacon, diced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 shallots, chopped
2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini or other white beans, drained and rinsed
10 leaves fresh sage, chopped, divided use
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 cups chicken broth
½ cup heavy cream
⅛ to ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¾ teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Fry the bacon in a medium saucepan over medium heat until halfway done, 3 minutes. Remove ¼ of the bacon to a dish and cook the remainder until done.  Remove the fully cooked bacon to a paper towel to drain.  Pour off the bacon grease.  Return the partially cooked bacon to the pan.  Add the olive oil, butter, and shallots and sauté until soft, 6 minutes. Add the beans, 6 leaves sage, garlic, and broth, bring to a simmer and cook 15 more minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor in three batches and puree until smooth. (Be careful-hot liquids are prone to explode when whipped!) Return the pureed soup to the pan and add the cream, cayenne, salt, and pepper to taste. Keep warm.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls, top with cooked bacon and remaining sage.

Makes 6 servings

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