- 2 cups dried cannellini, navy or white pea beans
- 8 strips Edwards Dry Cured Virginia Bacon
- 1 medium white onion, diced
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 celery rib, diced
- 3 to 4 fresh garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 Tablespoon each finely chopped, fresh Rosemary and Sage leaves
- 32 ounces Central Market Organics Chicken Broth
- 2 dried Bay leaves
- 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups chopped kale or spinach leaves, optional
- Sea Salt and finely Ground Black Pepper, to taste
1. Soak dry beans overnight covered in water. Drain water from beans and set aside.
2. In large stock pot or Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes until lightly browned. Remove and set aside. Reserve 3 Tablespoons bacon drippings in the pot.
3. Sauté onion, carrot, celery and garlic in bacon drippings 5 minutes. Stir in chopped herbs and cook 1 minute more.
4. Add chicken stock, beans and bay leaves to pot. Whisk tomato paste into liquid until incorporated. Chop 5 strips bacon into ¾-inch pieces; stir bacon pieces into broth. (Reserve remaining 3 strips bacon to chop for topping soup upon serving.)
5. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer gently 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until beans are tender. (If desired, add kale or spinach during last 30 minutes of simmer time.)
6. Using an immersion blender or regular blender, pulse half of the soup until smooth and creamy. Stir this puree back into the whole bean portion and stir until combined and heated through. (If kale or spinach is added, skip puree step and serve as thin broth rather than creamy soup.)
7. Ladle into warm bowls and top with dry cured bacon pieces.