We are still not sure if winter has ended and spring has begun. One day it is blue skies and 50* and the next day it snows a foot and a half! This soup is perfect for one of those gray, in between days. These recipes are no question favorites of everyone who eats them. They are extremely simple and extremely satisfying. They are perfect for a hearty lunch or for a light dinner. You can serve this cheesy bread with just about anything, but if you do, expect to be asked for the recipe! I think a nice Pilsner or ESB is the perfect complement to the meal. Bon appétit!
Bean and Bacon Soup with Cheesy Onion Bread
Bean and Bacon Soup
8 slices of bacon, diced into bite sized pieces, 2T (cooked) reserved for garnish
1 ½ Large Yellow Onion, finely diced
2 Medium Carrots, peeled and finely diced
3 Cans Cannellini or Great Northern Beans, with liquid
Salt to taste (Taste it and adjust the seasoning accordingly. I usually do not add much salt considering how much bacon there is in this recipe… It is bean with bacon, after all…)
Freshly cracked pepper at the table (I do not use black pepper in most of my recipes…I would rather it be offered at the table)
Cheesy Onion Bread
1/3 c Mayonnaise
1/2 Medium Yellow Onion, finely minced
1 c grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/8 t Cayenne Pepper
1/4 t Salt
4 thick slices of French bread (If you wish to use sliced baguette, allow 2 slices per person)
In a medium pot over medium heat, add the oil and then the bacon. Cook the bacon until crisp. Remove with slotted spoon and reserve. Add the onion and cook until just soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add the carrots and cook for another 3-4 minutes until soft. Add the beans and mix well. Let it cook on medium , stirring often for a few minutes, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer, stirring occasionally, but keeping your eye on it. (Due to all of the natural starch in the beans, the soup will stick if not stirred often or if the heat is too high. If it becomes too thick, add a small amount of water.) We like the soup on the thicker side, but if you prefer it thinner, cook it for less time and do not let it reduce as much. Mine usually cooks for about 15 minutes. Add the cooked bacon reserving 2T bacon for garnish.
Preheat the oven to 350*. Begin the cheesy bread while the soup is cooking… In a bowl, mix the first five ingredients. Spread generously on the sliced bread and put onto a baking sheet. Bake the bread for 15 minutes or until the tops have browned. Serve the bread with a hot bowl of soup and a cold beer. Enjoy!