Soups are the cook’s canvas and you can do so many things, limited only by your imagination. Use this gluten free bean and bacon soup as a template for any soup you’d like to make. The onion, garlic and celery are a standard French “mirepoix” and the base for any soup or braise as is the spice bag. Cook the mirepoix in oil if you’re not using bacon. Then add the stock and whatever else you’d like.
Some vegetables and chopped chicken for chicken vegetable, or rice for chicken rice, or rice noodles for chicken noodle. Leave out the chicken and add a can of tomatoes then puree with an immersion blender and add cream for a creamy tomato soup. You get the idea. Season a little with salt and pepper throughout the cooking process to build the flavor but go easy. It’s better to be a bit under seasoned than over. You can always adjust at the end.
One of my husband’s favourite soups (and mine to before I went gluten free) is Campbell’s Bean and Bacon. Every time he’d open a can I’d get jealous that I couldn’t have any. So finally I decided that anything Campbell’s can do, I can do better and I took on the challenge to make a great bean and bacon soup. Well hubby tasted it and he’s sworn off the canned stuff!
This is a great hardy soup for a cold winter day. Pair it up with a nice gluten free dinner roll and you’ve got a complete meal. It freezes really well if you’d like to make up individual serving sized portions for weekday lunches, but there would have to be leftovers for that to happen ;)
This bean and bacon soup is a good idea for the night after a roast chicken dinner so you can use some of the leftover chicken. If you leave out the chicken it will be fine.
About 6 slices of bacon cooked and chopped. Should be about ¾ cup
1 large onion finely chopped
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 stalks of celery finely chopped
1 carrot finely chopped
2 tablespoons of gluten free all purpose flour
1 med potato, diced
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups dried white beans, soaked overnight and cooked
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup kernel corn (frozen, canned or cut from the cob is fine)
1 cup cooked chopped chicken
1 spice bag (parsley, thyme, bay leaf, peppercorn)
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup of half and half or 35% cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1. Soak 2 cups of dried white beans overnight in enough water to cover by about 2 inches. In the morning drain, rinse, add water to cover and boil til tender but not mushy (about an hour).
2. Fry the bacon, chop and set aside.
3. In the hot bacon fat, cook the onion on med-low heat for about 5 min. Add the garlic, continue to cook for another minute or 2. Add the celery. Cook for a few more min. Add the flour. Continue to cook until everything is tender but should not take on any brown colour (10 or 15 min).
4. Once the beans are cooked, add them to a crock pot or soup pot. Add the onion / celery mixture. Add all of the other ingredients except the cheese and cream.
5. Simmer for a couple of hours until all of the flavours are nicely mingled
6. Add the cream and give it a minute or two to heat through.
7. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed.
8. Ladle into bowls and top with the shredded cheese.
This is the standard spice bag or sachet used in French cooking. It makes all the difference in the flavours of your soups and stocks. It consists of crushed peppercorn, fresh thyme, parsley stems and a bay leaf. The garlic clove is optional. Tie it up in a square of cheese cloth, immerse it in the soup or stock and tie the string to the handle of the pot you you can find it when you want to remove it.