Slow cooking soup simmering on the stove on a chilly winter afternoon is just the kind of comfort I crave during these winter months. While the bacon is optional, it adds a smoky, saltiness that really adds to the delightfully mellow great northern beans and sweet potatoes. But certainly feel free to make a vegetarian version without the bacon and substituting vegetable broth for the chicken broth if that works best for those around your table.
White Bean and Sweet Potato Soup
- 5 to 8 quart pot
- immersion or regular blender or food processor
- 1 pound dry great northern beans soaked in water (see NOTE)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
- 2 large carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 medium celery ribs, chopped (about ½ cup)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic (4 to 6 cloves)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley plus additional for serving
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves or ¾ teaspoon dry
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves or ½ teaspoon dry
- 2 quarts chicken broth preferably low sodium
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice (about 2-1/2 cups)
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 5 slices bacon, cooked and chopped optional
- Drain soaked beans and place in a large bowl; set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a large (5 to 8-quart) pot. Add onion, carrots, celery and saute, (cook while stirring occasionally) 5 to 6 minutes. Add garlic, parsley, thyme and rosemary and continue to saute until vegetables are softened, about 2 minutes more, adding more olive oil if pan gets dry. Add reserved beans, chicken broth, salt and pepper, increase heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered (see NOTE), 45 to 60 minutes, until beans are just tender. Add sweet potatoes and continue to simmer, partially covered, until potatoes and beans are very tender, about 30 minutes more. Using an imersion blender, puree soup slightly, just to give the broth some body but still leave some chunky beans and vegetables. If you do not have an immersion blender, you can remove a cup or two of soup and puree in a regular blender or food processor, then return the pureed portion to the pot and stir into the soup. Stir in lemon juice.
- If soup is too thick, add a little more chicken broth or water to desired consistency. Serve soup, sprinkled with additional parsley and chopped bacon, if desired.
- Makes 10 to 12 cups
Good and gracious God, help us to understand when it’s best to slow down and wait. Often we like the results of our efforts to come quickly. Help us to trust in your timing and the blessings that you have in store for us. Thank you for gracing us with patience for ourselves and each other.