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Bacon and Potato Bean Soup

1/2 lb. slab of hickory-cured bacon, cut into 3/8 inch dice
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 sm. onion, minced
3 lg. leeks (white and tender green) cut 1/2 inch
1/2 lg. carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 sm. celery rib, coarsely chopped
1 med. red pepper, cut 1/4 inch
4 c. chicken stock or canned broth
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
2 lg. potatoes (about 1 lb.) peeled, cut 1/2 inch
1 can (19 oz.) white kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Place bacon in large saucepan, cover with water. Simmer on medium-high heat 5 minutes. Drain, pat dry with paper towel. Wipe out pan and return bacon to pan. Fry until golden and crispy. Drain bacon, discard fat, wipe with paper towel in pan. Add butter, reduce heat, when melted add onion, leeks, carrot, celery and red pepper. Cook vegetables until lightly browned and softened, about 5 minutes. Add bacon, chicken stock, salt and pepper. Simmer, stir occasionally, 5 minutes. Add potatoes and simmer, stir until potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes. Add white beans simmer 1 to 2 minutes more. Serve hot. (Can be made 1 day ahead of time. Remove any fat before serving.) Serve with buttermilk jalapeno corn sticks.

http://www.nancyskitchen

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