Saturday, April 23, 2011

Recipe review: White Bean, Bacon, and Tomato Soup

I'm a sucker for soup.

My hubby found this soup on Jamie Oliver's "20 minute meal" app, one of the many (many) food related apps he has added to his Nook.  Should I be taking a hint here?  I'm trying to ignore it.  Anywho, I like Jamie Oliver, in general.  As much as you can like a person you've never met before, I suppose.  Last season we watched and enjoyed his show "Food Revolution," and are enjoying this season's adventures as well.  His recipes seem yummy and simple.

This one was picked out in yet another attempt at "meal planning," a concept we talk a lot about, but never actually get around to doing.  The subject usually comes up when it's been about a week since we've been grocery shopping last, and our meal choices seem to be centered around pasta or breakfast foods, yet again.  So he chose this from the "delicious soups" category, read me the ingredients, and I went shopping.  Celery, onion, garlic, cherry tomatoes, chicken broth, white beans, bacon, chives.  Easy peasy.  At the store, I buy:  a large package of celery, 3 onions, a bulb of garlic, 2 pints of cherry tomatoes, 2 boxes of chicken broth, 2 cans of white beans, a package of bacon, and a fairly large bunch of chives.

Two days later...

I find myself bored with FaceBook and JewelQuest at naptime, and decide to go give this soup a try.  COOKIES!  There are cookies in the kitchen!  OOH!  Cookies!  I get a little distracted.   Okay, soup.  For the first time, I look at the recipe, which is on the "nookie," my loving nickname for the little screen thingy with word games on it that goes to sleep and locks itself far too quickly for me.  I am shocked.  I will need the following for my soup, to feed 4:
1 stalk of celery  (1!!  1?!?!)
1 small onion
1 clove of garlic (I am suspicious of any recipe that calls for one lonely garlic clove)
4 ounces halved cherry tomatoes (I have no idea how much 4 ounces is, so I go with "most of the pint" as my measurement)
1 can white beans
1 quart chicken broth (which I decide means one box)
3 slices of bacon  (this sounds crazy.  I make it 4 and feel good about my decision)
small handfull of chives
glug of olive oil  (whatever you say, Mr.  Oliver...)
a hand pulser (naughty!)

So we begin, my small stash of ingredients and I.

I fry up my roughly chopped bacon, then spoon some some onto a plate for later.  Mr. Oliver suggests I keep my reserved bacon warm in the oven, but my oven is busy preheating for my peasant's treat - crescent rolls.  Yum!)
While the bacon fried, I busily shopped my "veg,"  the lonely foursome of celery, garlic, onion, and tomato.  Now that I have only half my bacon remaining in the pan, I add the veg, along with a "glug" of olive oil.  I channeled my inner Emeril and "glugged" away.  Measuring is for sissies!  The veg would continue to simmer for about 10 minutes, or until they were nice and soft but not mushy.  I "gave it a good old stir" once in a while to keep things even. 
In anither (far too large) pan, I got my broth simmering, and added the beans.  They simmered alongside the veg-party while I ransacked my cupboards for the hand pulser, and popped open my tube of crescent rolls.  The recipe advised me that this would be a good time to get my table looking respectable.  I should get out my cutlery and bowls, and set out sme nice drinks.  I pushed aside the playdoh tools, restacked the fruit bowl, and thought that should do it.  Respectable table and toddler don't go well together.
After roughly 10 minutes had passed (timing isn't the most important part of this recipe), the broth and beans got poured into the soft veg and bacon mixture.  It smelled good, and looked like it could even have been served like that.  But we were not done, oh no!!  We were not done. 
TIME TO HAND PULSE!  Woo-hoo!  After deciding that the low pan currently holding my soup was insufficient for the task ahead, I transferred everything back to the too-big pan and pulsed my heart out.  I left it slightly chunky for a rustic feel, which was the suggestion of the creator.

Verdict:  Delicious.  Seriously delicious.  Even more so when you are dunking crescent rolls in it.  Even Raina ate a fair amount of it (she is also now in love with crescent rolls).  We ate good sized bowls (Raina shared my bowl), and had enough left for one more.  It made more soup than I expected, and I was pleasantly surprised!

So there you have it... Jamie Oliver is the white wizard of Britain, created hearty portions of yummy soup out of what seemed like far too few ingredients.  We'll be making this again!

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