Baby, it's cold outside. Maybe not so much for my northern friends and Ohio family, but for Oklahoma and for this thin-blooded girl in particular, I'm a freezin'. I can't seem to get enough soup. This version of red bean and bacon soup is particularly yummy as it's gently pureed - making all the ingredients that my sometimes picky offspring might turn their nose up to (celery, etc) unidentifiable. With bacon sprinkled on top, who can resist? Sneak the good stuff in under the bacon, ha. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Red Bean & Bacon Soup
1 lb. dried red beans, soaked according to package directions
1/2 lb bacon, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 1/2 cup chopped onions (about 2 onions)
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 Tbs. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups chopped celery (about three stalks)
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
6 cups chicken broth
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
Cook chopped bacon in the bottom of a heavy post over medium heat until crisp. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Add to your pot the onions, garlic, bay leaves, chili powder, cumin and cayenne. Cook and stir about five minutes until onions are soft. Add the celery, carrots, beans, and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about an hour or until beans are tender. Add the canned tomatoes and their juice, roughly breaking up the tomatoes - if you choose not to puree the soup, go ahead and chop the tomatoes. Since I pulse it in the food processor, it is unnecessary to chop the tomatoes. Stir to combine the tomatoes and their juice into the soup. Discard the bay leaves. In small batches, pulse the soup in a food processor until coarsely pureed. Just a few pulses to keep it with some rough texture, not completely pureed. Return to pot and heat through. Serve topped with sour cream and chopped bacon. Sprinkle a little parsley fro good measure. Enjoy!