This easy bean and bacon soup is loaded with cranberry beans and bacon for an easy dinner that you can eat all week long.
I cook mostly with canned beans and have never cooked with dry beans before. I was thrilled to find out that cranberry beans only need to simmer for an hour before you can use them in soup. In this recipe, I opted to simmer the beans and then drain them before adding them to my soup with the rest of the ingredients.
How to make this Easy Bean and Bacon Soup:
This soup is a breeze. Although it takes about an hour and fifteen minutes total, most of that time is waiting for the beans to cook through. You have plenty of time to go play Animal Crossing or think about the meaning of life!
All you’ll do is simmer the beans first. Next, you’ll render the fat from the bacon and then you’ll cook the vegetables. This recipe uses onion, garlic, and carrots but you can get creative with the vegetables. Try adding sweet potatoes, Yukon gold potatoes, or butternut squash.
You could also add parsnips or turnips for more of a bite in the soup. If. you want to get your greens, stir in some spinach or arugula at the end of cooking!
Looking for more soup recipes? Check my archives!
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Easy Bean and Bacon Soup
- Two large pots
- 1 pound dry cranberry beans rinsed and picked over
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 pound thick-sliced bacon sliced crosswise
- 1 large onion diced
- 1 pound carrots trimmed, peeled, and diced
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 4 cups chicken stock plus more as necessary
- 1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- Fresh parsley finely chopped, optional, for serving
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Add the beans to a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, add the thyme sprigs, and bay leaves, and then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour or until the beans are cooked through. Add more water as necessary to keep the beans covered with liquid. Discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaves and then drain and rinse. Set aside.
Prepare Soup Base:
- As the beans simmer, prepare the rest of the soup. Add the sliced bacon to a large pot and turn the heat to medium. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until most of the fat has rendered. Note: The bacon does not need to be completely crispy.
- Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of fat in the pot.
Cook the Vegetables:
- Turn the heat on the bacon fat to medium and add the diced onion. Cook, stirring often, until the onion begins to soften. About 5 minutes.
- Add the carrots and cook for an additional 5-6 minutes or until the carrots begin to soften.
- Add the minced garlic and cook for 45 seconds or until fragrant.
Finish the Soup:
- Pour in the chicken stock and scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom. Next, add the diced tomatoes and the drained beans. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and add the cooked bacon. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper if desired.