Spicy White Bean, Bacon and Chard Soup

Smokiness and a bit of spicy heat transforms a standard white bean soup into something more interesting.

Yield: 6 servings ( Serving Size: 1 cup )
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Ingredients

  • 6 slice(s) bacon - just 3 if you're reducing the fat, or using less "heat"
  • 1 medium-sized sweet onion, diced
  • 3 clove(s) minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 1/8 teaspoon(s) crushed red pepper, ground if possible
  • 6 cup(s) chicken broth, preferably home-made with bits of chicken included
  • 1 dried smoked Ancho pepper or 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 can(s) cannellini beans (15 oz.), drained & rinsed
  • 2 ounce(s) parmesan cheese rind
  • 1 bunch(es) swiss chard
  • 1/4 cup(s) ditalini pasta (or other small shape)
  • 5 fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 5 fresh sage leaves, chopped

Preparation

  1. First stage:
  2. Assemble your ingredients. Heat a 3 quart sauce pot on low-medium for about 2-3 minutes until it is hot, and then add a very thin layer of vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the more fatty pieces of your bacon and cook until they shrink, render their fat, and start to yellow at the edges. Add the rest of the bacon, followed shortly by the onion. Cook until the onions are translucent yellow, and starting to brown. Add the garlic for a minute or so and then reduce the heat. The idea is to leave the bacon a bit soft, and the garlic just lightly cooked and soft. Grate your fresh nutmeg over it, and grind your crushed red pepper flakes if possible. (Tip: if you don't have home-made chicken broth with bits of chicken in it, you could add an ounce or so in with the onion here; or even try some shrimp!).

  3. Stage two:
  4. Add 6 cups of chicken broth and a dried, smoked Ancho chili pepper. If you want it hot, allow the pepper to cook and break apart, removing it later on before the chard is added. If you prefer it less spicy, let it soak to get the smokiness into the broth and remove it - or simply skip it and add a teaspoon of smoked paprika instead. Add the Cannellini beans and bring to a low boil. Add the Paremesean cheese rind, or good Parmesan if you don't have a rind available - it's an important part. Reduce heat to a simmer.

  5. Third and final stage:
  6. Cut the chard stems into 3/4" pieces, and the leaves into 1" wide ribbons. Add them, along with a 1/4 cup of Ditalini and simmer for 10 minutes. Chop the sage, and tear the basil leaves into smaller pieces. Add. If unavailable, use a tablespoon of dried sage and twice as much basil. Allow to simmer on low until you're ready to serve.
February 2013

This recipe is a personal recipe added by NeroFiddled and has not been tested or endorsed by MyRecipes.

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