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05 April 2009

Hearty Bacon and Vegetable Soup

Now that the weather is becoming cooler, I am starting to think about making soups. Because of the recent rain, I decided this weekend to make one of my favourites - a hearty soup with bacon and vegetables. I love to make a large batch of this soup and take it to work for lunch. I feel so healthy and satisfied when I eat it.

To add extra flavour, I have added parmesan rind which I remove at the end of the cooking process. When you have a piece of parmesan cheese, it is handy to freeze the hard, translucent rind and use it to flavour dishes such as soup or risotto.
I use a very large pot for this recipe, but you can really make as much or as little as you like. I normally fill the pot until about halfway with vegetables and then top with water until full. The quantities are fairly loose - add more or less of anything you like.

I like to serve this soup with a sprinkling of parmesan and buttered sourdough bread.


1-2 tablespoons olive oil
4 rashes bacon rind and fat removed and cut into 1cm pieces
1 large brown onion diced
2-3 cloves garlic crushed
2 carrots peeled and diced
4 stalks celery diced
1 tin red kidney beans drained and rinsed
1 tin crushed tomatoes
1 tin tomato puree
6-10 cups water
3-5 teaspoons chicken stock powder (alternatively, use liquid chicken stock to replace some or all of the water)
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 tablespoon dried basil
3 bay leaves
Parmesan rind
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt and pepper to taste
150g baby spinach leaves washed and dried
Sourdough and grated parmesan cheese


Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add bacon and fry until just crisp. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Cook until soft. Add tomatoes and tomato puree. Half fill the tomato and puree tins with water, swirl around and pour water into saucepan (so you retrieve ever bit of tomato flavour and add it to the soup). Add kidney beans. Stir to combine ingredients.

Add water, chicken stock, basil, oregano, bay leaves, rind and tomato paste. Heat over low heat. As the soup heats, any fat will rise to the top and form a foam on the top of the soup. Use a large spoon to skim the foam off the top.

When the soup boils, turn the heat right down and simmer for an hour or so or until the vegetables are soft. If the soup becomes too thick, add some extra water and also extra chicken stock powder if desired. Once the soup is cooked, but while still warm, add the spinach leaves and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with sourdough and parmesan cheese.

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