In trying to replicate my favorite childhood canned soup, I came up with this. I doubled the recipe for my family (of seven), and there was plenty left over.
3 cans white beans, rinsed and drained
6-8 slices Morningstar Farms “bacon” strips
1-2 carrots, minced
1-2 stalks celery, minced
1 medium onion, chopped fine
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1-2 bay leaves
1/2 of a small can (approx 2 tbsp) tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste.
1. In the pan you plan to cook the soup in, fry the bacon on both sides until it is thoroughly cooked, but not crispy.
2. Remove the bacon from the pot. Add the carrots, celery, and onion. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened, 5-7 minutes.
3. Add the beans, broth, water, and bay leaves. Partially cover and cook over low heat for a good long while. (I let it go for a couple of hours).
4. Chop the bacon in to tiny pieces. Add chopped bacon and tomato paste to the soup. Cover again and cook another 20 minutes or so.
5. Just before serving, use an immersion blender to half-puree the soup, leaving some whole beans and chunks intact. (If you don’t have an immersion blender, remove about 2 cups of the soup, puree in a blender, and stir back into the pot.)
6. Season with salt and pepper to taste (it shouldn’t need much; the bacon is salty, so start with a light hand) and serve.
6 Tbsp. butter or Smart Balance or olive oil6 small all-purpose potatoes, peeled and diced
1 or 2 finely chopped onion (do your kids like onion?)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 can (14.5 oz.) broth
12 cups baby spinach leaves or 3 or 4 pkgs frozen spinach
3 cans evaporated milk or plain soymilk (optional)
Melt butter in 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat and cook onion, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add potatoes and broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer covered 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in spinach and cook 5 minutes or until wilted. Process soup with a submersible blender just until smooth. Return to saucepan (add milk) and heat through. Season, if desired, with freshly ground black pepper.
3/4 lb. (12 oz.) Velveeta Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product, cut up ( 3 year olds love to do this with a butter knife.)
PLACE vegetables and broth in large saucepan; cover. Bring to boil on medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low; simmer 10 min. or until vegetables are tender.
MASH vegetables with potato masher to desired consistency. I use a submersible blender.
STIR in Velveeta; cook 5 min. or until Velveeta is melted and soup is heated through, stirring frequently.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with crackers, Sri racha, cilantro, spinach, whatever.