A quick way to thicken a bean soup is to mash a cup of the cooked beans and stir them back into the soup.
Oxmoor House JANUARY 2005
Sort and wash beans; place beans in a large Dutch oven. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans; bring to a boil, and cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 1 hour. Drain beans and return to pan.
Add 7 1/2 cups water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and bay leaves to pan. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour and 10 minutes. Add carrot; cook 20 minutes or until beans and carrot are tender.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add sage leaves; sauté 1 to 2 minutes or until crisp. Remove leaves from pan; drain on paper towels. Crumble and set aside.
Cook bacon in same pan 4 minutes or until crisp. Stir in onion; sauté 3 to 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add garlic, and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until onion is tender. Remove from heat.
Drain beans, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid in a small bowl. Discard bay leaves and return beans to pan. Add 1 cup beans to reserved cooking liquid; mash with a fork until mixture forms a paste. Stir broth, bean paste, onion mixture, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, and half of crumbled sage into cooked beans. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 4 to 5 minutes or until mixture is thoroughly heated (mixture will be thick).
Ladle soup into individual bowls, and sprinkle with remaining crumbled sage. Serve immediately.
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