Creamy Bean Soup

Serves: 1 bean lover all week long (or about 6 people)
Prep time: 5 minutes (not counting any bean soaking, crock-potting, etc. you might do)
Cook time: 15 minutes
Cost (this is with humanely raised pork and with cheese and home made stock, which I count as free--canned stock would add another $1.50-2.00--yeah, it's expensive--the bullion cubes might be a cheaper way to go, but not sure): $2.40
(Bacon: .75, cheese: .50, beans: .75, onion: .25, carrot: .10, garlic: .05)

Note on vegetables: You can add more or less of all of these. I used only 1 carrot because that's all we had. But if you had a lot, it might fool the bean haters--the soup would be more orange and sweeter and perhaps just less bean-y. Come on, a girl can dream right. Plus, it'd have lots of beta carotene.)

Note on beans: This recipe calls for canned beans. I used dry beans that I crock-potted to get soft and slightly cooked. I think this is a fabulous method for beans and recommend it. At any rate, however you get your dry beans soft, you'll want to use about 1 2/3 C softened beans in place of each can of beans (that's 2/3 C dry beans per can of beans). In this recipe, that means 6 C softened beans, (which came from 2 C dry beans).

2-4 strips bacon (we skipped this)
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
5 C chicken stock or broth
3 cans drained white beans or 6 C prepared (not dry) beans (I used great northern)
3/4 tsp fresh thyme (less if dried)
1/2 C Parmesan cheese

Cook bacon in a pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and cook until they're soft and transluscent. Take bacon out set it aside.  Add garlic to pot. Add carrots and celery. Cook for several minutes (about 3).

Add stock and beans. Cook for 10 minutes. While it cooks, chop the bacon you've set aside.

Let soup cool for 1-2 minutes. Put in blender and puree. Mine just barely fit in my standard-sized blender.

Return to pot and add cheese and chopped bacon.

Garnish with fresh chives. Or chocolate shavings if you think that will encourage your family members to eat it (though for the record I don't recommend this method--it'll mess up your leftovers).
Posted by The Tasty Cheapskate