Homemade Bean with Bacon Soup

From inthekitchenwithkath.com

(Adapted from Elise Bauer’s recipe on Simply Recipes)

Serves 4 - 6

1 pound navy beans (also called “pea” beans)

5 ounces of bacon, cut into ½-inch wide pieces (about 4 or 5 pieces of thick-sliced bacon)

2 cups chopped onion (1 large)

¾ cup chopped celery (about 2 large stalks)

¾ cup chopped carrots (1 large carrot)

3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)

6 cups chicken stock (plus an extra cup or two to thin the soup if it’s too thick)

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 tablespoon fresh)

2½ teaspoons kosher salt (or 1¼ teaspoons table salt)

¼ teaspoon black pepper

3 tablespoons tomato paste

½ teaspoon paprika

1 ounce bacon, cooked and crumbled for garnish (optional)

1. First thing in the morning rinse and sort the beans. Put them in a large pot and cover with plenty of water. Cover and let them soak for 8 -10 hours.

2. Put the bacon in a large, thick-bottomed Dutch oven. Cook over medium heat for 2 or 3 minutes, until it has started to render its fat.

3. Add the onion, celery, and carrots to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 12 – 15 minutes.

4. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for an additional minute.

5. Add the stock, bay leaves, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and partially cover the pot. Simmer for 1 hour, until the beans are done.

6. Stir in the tomato paste and paprika. Simmer for 5 more minutes.

7. Remove the bay leaves and use an immersion blender to partially blend the soup. You want some of the beans to remain intact.

8. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

9. If the soup seems too thick, thin it with a bit more chicken stock.

10. Serve, garnished with crumbled bacon, if desired.