Saturday, September 3, 2011

After the Storm

The day after I got my electricity back I went to the market to replace some of the food I had thrown away. I didn't buy too much since the threat of another storm seems imminent. You might think I picked up a steak or something decadent, but I bought some turkey bacon and fresh vegetables. I was in the mood for comfort food and decided on Turkey Bacon and Cannelini Bean and Vegetable Soup, my adaptation of a recipe I discovered in Southern Cooking. This is a quick fix, no fuss recipe for whatever has gotten you down. The beans are creamy, the broth is flavorful, the bacon is smokey and the vegetables and simple spices make this a go-to recipe when you've had a tough week.

Turkey Bacon and Cannelini Bean and Vegetable Soup

8 strips turkey bacon cooked and chopped, one inch pieces
1-1/2 cups chopped onion -I used frozen
1 large carrot diced
2 small celery stalks diced
5 cloves garlic minced- this sounds like a lot, but it's really very mellow
2 T canola oil and any leftover bacon fat
lemon pepper
3 dried bay leaves
2 cans (14.5 oz each) low sodium, fat free chicken broth
2 cans (15.5 oz each) cannelini beans rinsed and drained
2 T hot sauce
3 oz baby spinach chiffonade
Shredded Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)
Croutons for garnish (optional)

Cook bacon and set aside. In large pot, add oil and bacon fat and warm over medium/low heat. Add carrots, celery and onion and stir. Cook about five minutes, add garlic and 1/2 tsp salt and lemon pepper. Cover pot and sweat vegetables another 5 or 7 minutes. Add turkey bacon.

Cook another minute or two and add bay leaves, broth and beans. Cook 20 minutes covered. Add spinach and hot sauce and cook until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. Taste and re-season if necessary.

I wanted to jazz this dish up a bit so while the soup was simmering I made Anne Burrell's croutons, shredded some Parmesan cheese and made this a very special meal. This recipe will serve four people, but it's so good that I ate two portions in one sitting. I'll double it next time.

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