What Is Bacon Soup?
Bacon soup is a dish that typically consists of bacon, beans, lentils, and different vegetables mixed in a creamy broth. This dish is one of the types of soups that allow plenty of individual creativity, and many home cooks like to use different recipes with their favorite bacon soup ingredients. The average bacon soup recipe does not consist only of broth; it calls for a thickener such as corn starch, flour, or pearl barley, making this soup an especially hearty dish.
Potato bacon soup is a popular recipe variation that often includes cooked red or russet potatoes steeped in a mixture of heavy cream, flavored soup stock, and bacon fat drippings. Additional flavoring can come from minced garlic, onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes, salt, and black pepper. Some versions of bacon soup recipes instruct the cook to cut up the potatoes into large pieces before adding them to the rest of the soup ingredients. Other recipes require the potatoes to be mashed or pureed and then mixed in as a thickening agent in addition to the heavy cream.
Some home cooks prefer bacon soup with added protein, and beans are a good source of this nutrient. Lentils are another option that can add both fiber and protein to one of these soups. Bacon and bean soup recipes can be made with white, navy, or red beans as well as great northern beans. Although either canned or dried beans can be used, many cooks report that soaking and boiling dried beans allows them to retain a better texture when added to the soup.
The type of bacon used for soup recipes often varies according to preference. Popular bacon flavors can include peppered bacon for a spicier taste and maple bacon for a somewhat sweeter one. Some recipes include instructions to cook the bacon until it is crispy and then to chop it into small pieces for a soup garnish that adds more bacon flavor along with that from the drippings. Other recipes call for the bacon to be cut into larger pieces and more completely mixed in with the rest of the ingredients.
For home cooks who may be concerned about the fat content of this kind of soup, several recipe versions use a lighter broth without the heavy cream or potatoes. Many of these afford the chance to experiment with flavors from vegetables such as leeks and watercress. While this version of bacon soup may not be as filling, it can often provide a good source of nutrition.
I remember once in college we tried to make bacon soup which basically just consisted of boiling bacon in beer. The results were gross and messy as you can probably imagine but that was what a lot of college was like for me.
Much better were our sandwiches. It is hard to make a bad sandwich. Well, not hard, but you have to want it to be bad for it to turn out bad. And if you add bacon to just about any sandwich it becomes edible.
There is a bar close to me that serves cheesy potato bacon soup. You wouldn't think of going to a bar and getting a beer and a bowl of soup but honestly it is probably the tastiest thing on the menu. I have had a lot of different potato soups in my life and most of them tend to be bland. But this one has the sharpness of cheddar cheese and the spice of jalapenos. Just writing about it makes me want to get a bowl.
Bean with bacon soup is one of my favorite meals for a cold winter night. A big bowl of the creamy rich soup with a chunk of crusty bread is the perfect thing to take the chill out of you.
I have a recipe for it that my mother used to make all the time. It is easy to put together, but if you cook it long enough the results are amazing.
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