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Beans Can Actually be YUMMY! A recipe for bean and bacon soup.

I was actually working on a post on saving money on having a baby, but as I sat here smelling the beans that have been cooking on the stove all afternoon, I remembered that it is real food wednesday.  And that I need.... NEEED... to share this recipe.  Because it's delicious, frugal, and I kinda sorta made it up.  The ingredient list looks a hair long, but over half of the ingredients are seasonings you probably already have, and it really comes together quickly.
Bean and Bacon Soup.

But first a small confession- I don't really like beans very much.  In fact, as a child (a remarkably un-picky child, at least when it came to food) beans were one of the few foods I refused to eat.  My experience with beans was limited to bland ham and bean soup (a dish I actually don't hate now, because I SEASON it...) and the kidney beans in the dish my mom called goulash (that I know now was absolutely not goulash).  Thank goodness I'm a frugal cook, which meant I eventually had to come to terms with the humble dried bean.  Now I have a few bean based recipes that I absolutely love, and this one is a particular favorite.

Bean and Bacon Soup

  • 16 oz. (about 2 1/2 cups) DRY pinto beans
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 6 (yes 6) cloves of garlic, diced
  • 3 T. chili powder
  • 1-2 diced chipotle peppers (to taste... you can also remove the seeds to reduce the spice)
  • 1 pint diced tomatoes, or two diced fresh tomatoes
  • 2 tsp. sucanat
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 6 cups chicken or beef stock
  • additional water or stock, if needed or desired
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 6 (or more!) slices of bacon
At least 10 hours before you plan to eat (so you can start soaking them in the morning for dinner that night, but it's best to soak them overnight first) cover your pinto beans with fresh, cold water and soak for at least 6 hours.

Drain the beans, leaving the beans in the collander.  In the pan,  melt the butter and saute the diced onion until it begins to soften.  Then add the garlic and continue to saute until soft and fragrant.  Add the soaked beans, all the spices, vinegar, sucanat, diced tomatoes, and stock.  Cover and simmer on low for the rest of the afternoon, or until beans are soft.  Check occasionally and add water or stock to keep beans from drying out.

When the beans are done (or about done) brown and then dice the bacon*.  Add the 8 oz of tomato sauce and any additional water or stock to thin soup to desired thickness (you can also mash some of the beans to further thicken the soup, if you want).  Stir in the diced bacon and serve!

*You could, hypothetically, dice the bacon raw and throw it in with the cooking beans... I have a similar recipe for black eyed peas where I add the bacon earlier and uncooked, and as it cooks with the beans, it imparts them with its flavor and delicious fatty richness.  However, for this soup I prefer the bacon to be less... mushy.  And if you know ANYTHING about me you know I also add the rendered off bacon fat and drippings to the soup.... so of course you should too!

And check out a whole bunch of real food recipes at Kelly the Kitchen Kop's Real Food Wednesday!

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