Bean With Bacon Soup

There's this restaurant in Foley, Alabama where they throw rolls at you. I'm pretty sure they won't hire someone as a server unless they played softball or baseball in high school. Those folks can pitch bread across the room like a beast. The daughter who is now a doctor also played softball in high school (I love this picture of her in her gear).

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She can pick those rolls out of the air like a pro. The rolls are amazing, so having someone along who can keep them from hitting the floor is a plus. I took her and her boyfriend (now fiancé) a couple of years ago and sat across from them while they caught enough bread to feed an army (he played football, so he has skills, too). Once we had starched up, she ordered, among other things, cottage cheese, while he got the fried gizzards--eww. His coaches had apparently been trying to get him to eat cottage cheese for some time. He told us that he and a few of his football buddies had stared down at a plate of it, none of them brave enough to try something that, admittedly, looks like watery curdled milk. My daughter and I got a kick out of that. The thought of three or four big, strapping men scared of a plate of cheese was almost more than I could stand.  

That's when one of us, I'm not sure which, had an idea. He would agree to try some of her cottage cheese if she would try some of his gizzards. I've mentioned in previous posts that I'm not a fan of exotic foods. When I watch Andrew Zimmern, I usually have to close my eyes when he eats the really weird and nasty stuff. My daughter is cut from the same cloth as me. Gizzards are not in her playbook. So, of course, this bet was made for them. They swapped bites, and I nearly fell out of my chair laughing. They wore identical looks of horror and disgust. I guess it doesn’t take much to entertain me.

Anyway, until my doctor relents and lets me have gluten again, bread is off limits, so I won't be headed over to Foley anytime soon. I'm not going if I can't have the bread. I mean, I only have so much willpower. But they have this amazing bean and ham dish that I also love. Of course, since I can’t go get it, I start experimenting. I came across this bean and bacon soup recipe, and ...Oh. My. Gosh.

This recipe is made for a crockpot. My brother refuses to use a one. He says it takes too much planning. Me? I love the crockpot. You do have to think ahead, but what it loses in planning time it makes up for in effort. My crockpot doubles as a pressure cooker, which is even better. That's how you can turn laziness and lack of preparation into good cooking. Dry beans can become good in an hour. Throw in a food processor to keep from having to chop vegetables, and this dish has Shawna Lynn written all over it.

For this recipe, freshly cooked bacon is best, but if you’re short on time, patience or energy, prepackaged bacon bits will do, As long as they're real bacon bits and not that imitation crap. Grandma would roll over in her grave. And my husband (the butcher) would divorce me.

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Bean With Bacon Soup

32 oz. navy beans

2 yellow onions, diced

4 stalks of celery, diced

8 oz. matchstick carrots

4 cups chicken broth

4 cups of water

1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled

4 cloves of garlic

1 bay leaf

Dash of red pepper flakes

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

Rinse and sort dry beans, add to pressure pot. Add remaining ingredients. Pressure cook for 1 hour, or until beans are tender. Add more water, if necessary, until soup is desired consistency.

 

Alternate instructions: Rinse and sort dry beans, add to crock pot, then soak overnight. Add remaining ingredients and slow cook until beans are tender (apx. 8 hours).

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