The Domestic Pretender struck again recently. I knew the weather was going to be crummy cold, so I thought I would make soup – from scratch – not out of a can that says “add water.”
I was perusing one of my many cookbooks last week and stumbled upon a recipe for bean and bacon soup. I like bean and bacon soup. The Ranger likes bean and bacon soup. The kids wouldn’t touch it with a 10 foot pole! So, I decided to use this crummy snow as an excuse to whip up a fabulous soup recipe! I even put the ingredients on my grocery list so I would have everything I needed. Un-huh, EVERYTHING! (We’ll get back to that “everything” later).
I looked at the recipe and noticed that it called for tomato sauce. Hmmm…the Ranger isn’t really big on tomatoes, maybe I’ll use chicken broth. (I have a tendency to switch out stuff we don’t like. I’m not exactly sure, but I think this could be one reason my recipes have issues).Then I noticed the recipe called for carrots. Carrots and green peppers? In bean and bacon soup? Crazy, but, sure, whatever. Now, I’m a planner in life and in cooking (to a point) I like to get my ingredients ready all at once and then start cooking.
So I gathered the usual suspects for bean and bacon soup – bacon (yummmmmmm) and beans (duh), carrots, onions, garlic, green pepper, and chicken stock.
Then I noticed something – problem #1: I forgot to refrigerate my green pepper and it was all wilty and smushy (EW!). So, I throw out the green peppers and head for the pantry where I have stashed cans of tomatoes with diced green peppers and onions. Sorry, Dear, out with the chicken stock and back in with the tomato sauce. I’m sorry, I can’t, in good conscience, mix diced tomatoes and chicken stock. I’m sure there are those who can make those two ingredients taste good together, but I am not that person.
Problem #2: I didn’t have EVERYTHING that I needed. No tomato sauce! WHAT! I’ve already dumped in the diced tomatoes! We’ve already discussed adding chicken stock to diced tomatoes! I just can’t do it! BUT I did have tomato paste. And what is tomato sauce but soupy tomato paste, right? I added my tomato paste and some water to make it soupy. Worked for me!
I cooked the bacon.
And then I tasted it. I had to be sure it was cooked just right to crumble. I wasn’t sure, so I tasted a few more pieces…
I chopped my garlic, seems my garlic press disappeared somewhere in the whole moving thing. Personally I think the kids liked the way it flipped back and forth and stole it. Then, I chopped my carrots, and last my onions. I always chop my onions last because I don’t like the idea of cutting off any fingers while I’m sobbing through my onions. I dumped them in the post and cooked them up a little bit and then I started adding the cans of stuff. At first it seemed almost like a pantry can soup. You know – a can of this and a can of that. But I guess the chopped veggies counted to make it just plain ol’ soup.
I added everything except the bacon and let it simmer together for a good while. (Probably about 20 minutes or so). Then I tasted it. It tasted like canned beans. I don’t like the taste of canned beans. Please don’t take this to mean that I make beans from a bag. It is physically impossible for me to make beans from a bag. I can’t do it. I know, I know…can’t never could. But let’s be honest here, anyone who has seen me cook would not be at all surprised to know I can’t make bagged beans. No matter how long they soak they are as hard as pebbles. I always use canned beans, but I hate the way canned beans taste unless they’ve been drained, rinsed over and over again. This recipe called for “undrained” beans, so I followed the recipe.
Here is where I really left the recipe. From this point on I know what I added, but I have no idea the measurements. First I added some beef bouillon, a little better. Then I added some chili powder, a little better. Then I added more chili powder, getting to be edible. Then I started wishing I had tobacco (refer back to having EVERYTHING…NOT!). Then I added the bacon, and I have to say that it’s amazing what some nice crispy bacon can do for a recipe.
The Ranger wasn’t so sure. He looked at the bowl rather suspiciously, but agreed to eat some. He is not a fan. He had to eat around the carrots and tomatoes.
So, here I was with a nice big pot of bean and bacon soup and no one to eat it but me.
I ate it for lunch for a week! I’m more than a little tired of bean and bacon soup. And, when I want some I’ll probably head to the store and buy a can of the stuff. ‘Cause frankly this recipe just isn’t for me. However, if you like a vegetablely bean and bacon soup here is the recipe:
Bean and Bacon Soup*
½ lb bacon cooked to be able to crumble
3Tbs. bacon pan drippings
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 green pepper, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
3 C. water
8-oz can tomato sauce
2 – 16 oz cans kidney beans
Hot pepper sauce to taste
Heat reserved drippings in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion, carrot, green peppers and garlic until tender. Add water, tomato sauce and undrained beans. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened. Stir in reserved bacon and hot sauce to taste. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
*This recipe comes from p. 67 of the Gooseberry Patch Comfort Foods cookbook.