Great Northern Bean Soup with Crispy PancettaIf you love soup, this will warm your heart and belly. Pancetta is an Italian, uncured bacon that adds a salty bite and crispy texture. I’ve used both the 4-quart and 6-quart stockpots depending on whether I’m feeding a few or a few more! Here are the instructions for the larger batch.
- 8-ounces of pancetta chopped into small dice
- 3-Tablespoons of olive oil, divided into 1-Tablespoon and 2-Tablespoon portions
- 2-cups of Spanish onion chopped into small dice
- 1-cup of celery chopped into small dice
- 1-cup carrot chopped into small dice
- 1-pound Great Northern or Navy beans (That have been soaked in cold water overnight, then drained)
- 4-cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
- 3-cups water
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- Coarse salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the 360 by Americraft 6-quart stockpot over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
- Add one tablespoon of olive oil. Allow it to heat for a minute. Add 8-ounces of chopped pancetta to the pan. You’ll hear it sizzle. Let the meat brown and cook for
- 4 minutes before turning. (Be patient, the meat will release from the pan easily after it’s cooked for a bit.) Stir the pancetta and cook until it’s brown and crispy. (About 8 minutes)
- Transfer the pancetta to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Pour off and discard any excess fat in the pot but keep the crispy brown bits at the bottom. This is called the fond.
- Return the stockpot to medium heat. Add 2-tablespoons of olive oil. Allow it to heat for a minute. Add the onion, celery, and carrot. Stir to coat the vegetables with the oil. As you stir, scrape up all the fond from the bottom of the pot. Cook the vegetables for 12-15 minutes.
- Do not season the vegetables yet. Bean cookery is slightly different than other soups. Adding salt at this stage will make the beans tough. We’ll season everything towards the end of the cooking process.
- Add the drained beans, thyme sprigs, and bay leaves to the pot. Pour in the stock and the water. Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Cover the pot. Continue cooking until steam just begins to escape from under the lid. Spin the lid to engage the Vapor seal. Immediately reduce the heat to low.
- Cook the soup for one hour. Check to make sure the beans are tender. If they are not, continue cooking a few minutes more.
- Remove the lid when beans are tender. Transfer one-quarter of the beans and vegetables along with some broth to a food processor bowl with the blade attachment. Pulse the mixture into a puree. Return the puree to the stockpot.
- Add three-fourths of the cooked pancetta. (Reserve the remainder) Season the soup with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- Cover the pot and let the soup simmer on low heat for another 30 minutes.
- Remove the lid. Remove and discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Stir, taste and adjust the final seasonings.
**Tip: Sprinkle a bit of the reserved pancetta on top of each bowl of soup just before serving.