February 18, 2014

Tuscan Three Bean & Bacon Soup with Kale

We woke up to another four inches of snow this morning.  Uncle!  Who's moving to Florida with me?  I'll start packing.  While the snowstorms have interfered with a lot of our precious plans this past month, they didn't stop us from celebrating our 10-year wedding anniversary.  Life is so amazing when you're married to your best friend!  We had a lovely time away.  However, the morning before we left to come back home, I came down with a nasty cold.  I never get sick.  I'm always the one who nurtures everyone else and manages to never catch a thing.  Well, I found myself laid out in bed for 36 hours straight - I've never slept so much in my life!  Yesterday afternoon, I finally started to feel well enough to get back on my feet.  The first thing I did?  Homemade soup.  Ah!  What better way to warm your bones and soothe your soul than with a hot bowl of homemade soup?  I made this Tuscan soup with three types of beans (because I'm obsessed with beans), with bacon (because I'm obsessed with bacon), and with kale from the garden.  Though my 9-year-old sous chef initially turned her nose up at the sight of it, she ended up loving it and even asked for seconds.

Yields 4 servings

  • 5 slices bacon 
  • 1 c onion, diced 
  • 1/2 c carrot, diced
  • 1/2 c celery, diced 
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced 
  • 6 c chicken stock, plus more water if needed
  • 15 oz black beans, drained 
  • 15 oz red kidney beans, drained
  • 15 oz great northern beans, drained 
  • 1/2 c cooked kale, chopped 
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, minced 
  • 1/4 tsp liquid smoke 
  • 1 tsp sugar 
  • 1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp pepper, or to taste 


Fry the bacon in a skillet over medium heat, until crisp.  Drain the bacon on paper towels.  Crumble the bacon into small pieces and set aside.  Reserve 3 tbsp of the bacon grease and discard the rest.  

In a large pot, add the reserved bacon grease and heat  over medium heat.  Add the onion, carrot, and celery.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook until the onions are translucent, about 6 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.  

Pour in the chicken broth.  Add the black beans, kidney beans, great northern beans, kale, parsley, liquid smoke, sugar, salt, pepper, and crumbled bacon to the pot.  Bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  If you would like to thin the soup, add some water.  


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