Sunday, February 20, 2011

Beans, Bacon & Boursin Soup: Delicious Homey Comfort for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

It was another busy week. Saturday morning had me up bright and early and headed across the island to make oat-fruit pancakes and berry-green smoothies at a cooking demo for a Kidney Foundation education workshop. My volunteer or "pro bono" work as I like to think of it, it's always entertaining, but a little tiring trying to convince a (usually) older local generation used to spam, Portuguese sausage, fried rice and a myriad of high sodium, high sugar, fried foods to realize it is just as easy and tasty to cook some healthier options. The drive back, several errands and an afternoon nap with Max (see aforementioned busy week remark--I needed it and Max is always willing to catnap), had me finally prowling the kitchen at 4:30 PM, still needing to make a soup for this week.

I had various veggies and some bacon that needed to be used--a challenge with nitrate and preservative-free bacon is that you have to use it quickly. My thoughts then turned to beans, as I needed to do a little paring down of my canned bean collection in the pantry, and a bean soup with bacon sounded good. I picked out three cans--cannellini beans, garbanzo beans, and black-eyed peas. Beans...Bacon... my love of alliteration lead me to the package of Boursin (my favorite black pepper variety) cheese in the fridge and the idea that it would be a fabulous topping to jazz up a simple soup.

And thus about 45 minutes later, Beans, Bacon & Boursin Soup was born, consumed with great gusto and enjoyment and all was right with the world. ;-)

Bean, Bacon & Boursin Soup
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes About 8 Servings)

6 slices bacon, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped finely
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped finely
1/2 cup white wine
8 cups low-sodium or homemade chicken stock
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 can black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
2 cups cabbage, chopped
sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
black pepper Boursin or other cheese of choice for garnish

Heat a large soup or stockpot over medium high heat. Add chopped bacon and cook until crisp. Remove with slotted spoon, drain on paper towel and set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to bacon fat in ban and heat. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until softened about 7 minutes. Add garlic, rosemary and thyme and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add white wine and deglaze pan, scraping up any browned bits.

Add chicken stock, beans and cabbage and bring to a boil. cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until cabbage is cooked and flavors meld. Add about 3/4 of the bacon to the soup and season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish each serving with a tablespoon of Boursin and some of the remaining bacon. Serve with grilled bread.

Notes/Results: For a thrown-together-relatively-quickly soup, this was pretty perfect. Lots of good flavor from the bacon, fresh herbs and white wine. It is delicious on it's own but then there is another layer of creaminess and added flavor from the tablespoon of Boursin on top. The cheese melts into the soup (there is a moment or two when it just isn't pretty but just stir gently and go with it--it will all dissolve), and it adds that little zip that elevates this from a simple "peasant" soup to something special. The mixture of the three beans adds some different textures to the bowl with contrast of the creamier cannellini beans and the firmer black-eyed peas and garbanzos. The cabbage and other veggies are slightly soft but not mushy--the way I like them. With the bacon and Boursin, it is a little indulgent but there is plenty of good fiber and vitamins packed in too. Homey, comforting, perfect with some lightly grilled bread and worthy of a second serving that night. I am happy I made a big batch of this soup to enjoy and I will make this again.

Let's take a look into the Souper Sunday kitchen and see who is here and of course what they brought with them.

My soup-loving pal Heather, girlichef has two wonderful soups to share this week. This classic favorite Good 'Ol Chicken Noodle Soup that she says "will put a bounce back into anyone's step" and "...I'm pretty confident that my own chitlins will think of their mama's chicken noodle soup when they're older and on their own and feeling sick or down. And then I can pass the recipe and the tradition on to them. That is enough to put a satisfied smile on my lips and keep me making it. Well. That and the fact that I love it. Eating it. Making it. Sharing it."

girlichef also made Moqueca (Brazilian Fish Stew), inspired by the movie Woman on Top (Food N' Flix current pick). She says, "I wanted to make something bursting with color and flavor! With sunshine and passion! This pot of Moqueca is a layered fish stew that consists of colorful vegetables, milky-white fish, salty-briny shrimp, and delicate coconut milk that are laced with a hit of spice. It's far too easy to close your eyes, take a bite, and imagine you're on a sunny beach. Just what I needed in the depths of winter."

It's nice to have an old friend back this week, Lea Ann from Mangos, Chili and Z brought a zesty Zuppa Salsiccia (Italian Sausage Soup) and says, "Zuppa Salsiccia simply translates to Sausage Soup, which seems like such a modest description for this incredibly flavorful dish. This soup, hands down, is our favorite in my database. I’ve had this recipe for many years and every time we make it we comment about why we don’t have it more often. Alongside a beautiful green salad dressed with your favorite vinaigrette and a chunk of crusty bread, this is elegant enough to serve as a main course at a dinner party."

Tigerfish from Teczcape - An Escape to Food made a veggie-drawer clearing Vegetarian Tofu Stew-Like Soup that she says is "Satisfying for winter dinner after a heavy lunch" and "Apologies for the unappealing-looking dish. I cooked this in the midst of clearing out the fridge the other day. I was also in need of a one-dish dinner that stays light (yet nutritious) because we had too much for lunch buffet. So, dinner was a simple tofu stew-like soup, in which the tofu - the protein, double-up as the "carbs" (adds bulk and substance)"

It's nice to have Chaya from Chaya's Comfy Cook Blog back this week with a creamy Cheddar Potato Soup. Chaya says, "Does the name give its goodness away? That cheddar cheese gave it life. Before that, it was a decent potato soup but adding the cheddar transformed it. Although, I did shred the cheese with a grater, work could have been saved by using a knife and cutting thin pieces. It would melt just as well in the hot soup. I find grating to be relaxing which is why I did it. For me, this is a great way, to sit down and take a break, while watching the cheese pile up in beautiful shreds of cheese."

A warm Souper Sunday welcome to Sweet & Savory from Bizzy B. Bakes, joining us for the first time this week and here with her Super Soup. She says, "Tonight was one of those unusual nights that despite my intentions to make tomato soup with goat cheese plus rice squares, I couldn't settle down and do it. I had a craving for potatoes and I wanted soup so I turned everything around and made a veggie type soup with tons of potatoes, well only four. Considering, I was making soup for two, I made a hefty quantity which we finished.We ended up eating a nourishing and filling meal with lots of good vegetables and a creamy, soothing potato base."

Lovely Reeni from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice made a comforting bowl of chili and says, "White Chicken Chili is a warm and cozy combination of chicken, white beans, roasted red peppers and chile peppers swimming around in a sea of creamy chicken broth. The "white" in the name comes from the broth, which, unlike a more traditional chili, doesn't include tomatoes but a combination of chicken broth and half & half. The white theme is continued with the tender pieces of chicken and creamy cannellini beans. Truth be told, it eats more like a soup than a chili."

My friend Kat from Our Adventures in Japan recreated a warming Ginger Potato Soup and says, "I got the idea for this soup when I ate an instant version. Knorr Japan has a creamy ginger potage which we tried and when I looked at the ingredients, I thought, "I could make this". The weather is starting to slowly warm up during the daytime, but the nights are still cold, so I wanted to try making this soup before the weather totally warms up. The potatoes really help thicken up the soup."

Roz from la bella vita is here with a bright and healthy Thai Chicken Salad and says, "I'm lovin' this Thai Chicken Salad (often called "Laab" or "Larb") and will pack whatever is left over for my lunch tomorrow at the office! Your taste buds will surely sing "Wow" too! The fresh lime, pungent ginger, sharp cilantro, spicy, garlic-y Thai seasoning are blended with the mild, buttery nuttiness of cashews and the sweetness of natural honey to balance those powerful playing ingredients! Like all Thai recipes, it's all about a balance of contrasts and this recipe has it all."

Shri from Tiffin Carrier Antic/que's! is back with us this week and with a Rice Salad with Vegetables. She says, "Rice with Sauteed and Tempered Vegetables Who is to stop you from calling it a Rice Salad? :-) Vegetable Upperi: Carrots, Beetroot ...These vegetables could also accompany a simple Dal, or it could be a very satisfying Rice Salad! These simple stir-fry's, if you please, is a quick and commonly used dry-vegetable dish in Kerala. It can be made in several ways, including finely diced onions, a touch of garlic, a generous garnish of grated coconut, a paste of coconut-cumin and chillies, maybe garlic and always a tempering of mustard seeds, broken red chillies and fresh curry leaves in coconut oil."

Finally, Graizana from Erbe in Cucina (Cooking with Herbs) has a sandwich on homemade bread and packed with all kinds of good things to share this week, her Focaccia with Mackerel, Thyme and Nigella. She says, "My father gave me some delicious homemade mackerel in oil that he prepared. I used it this quick focaccia, paired with the thyme, always perfect on fish, and the fruity and spicy nigella."

Some terrific soups, a couple of healthy salads and a hearty sandwich this week. Thanks to all my friends who joined in. If you have a soup, salad, or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on my side bar for the guidelines and details.

Have a great week!


  1. thanks for including my soup with all these great soups, salads & sandwiches :)

  2. ok, I'm a huge Boursin cheese fan and never thought about putting into soup. Fabulous idea, sounds delicious. Thanks for including this delinquent foodie in your always fabulous lineup...always a fan of Souper Sunday. hugs.

  3. Oh my gosh...boursin!! I'm a total LOVER of boursin. LOL, just go w/ it ;) Seriously I want a whole pot of your soup with a loaf of bread and a bottle of wine. Ah, bliss. Everything looks amazing, Deb...thanks for the wonderful roundup =)

  4. Very tasty soup and I just happen to have some lower calorie boursin in the fridge. I've already committed to making a new version of wedding soup. Wonder how the boursin would taste in that? You may have started something.

  5. Thanks for the round up :) Your 3Bs soup must be super -duper tasty!

  6. Deb, your soup won my heart with the addition of bacon and boursin . . . WOW! Another great collection of recipes and thank you again for including my Thai Chicken Salad! Lots of goodies this week, for sure! Thank you also for sharing your post this week on Fresh, Clean, and Pure Friday! Roz

  7. I thought I was busy but it sounds like you're in a whirlwind! I'm glad you took some time to nap, smell the roses, and make this soup! Delicious. I've never had boursin but I think I need to try it! Great round up!

  8. Oh YUM! I am planning to make bean & ham soup next weekend, but now I definitely will add Boursin.

  9. Bean and bacon is one of my favorite soups and the fact that you topped this with boursin is awesome! Plus, you can't go wrong with 3 cans of beans:)
    Another gorgeous roundup!

  10. with beans and bacon you can be always sure of the result!

  11. Your bean soup sounds outstanding. The round-up was, as usual, wonderful. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  12. I would say that soup is quite a success after such a busy day! I had to laugh at your description of what you are convincing people not to eat. I spend many of my days doing the same. Just not so much spam here, lots of fried chicken though. :)

  13. Such a delicious comforting soup! I like the different beans here, and the black pepper Boursin, very yummy!

  14. Your soup sounds incredible Deb! I love the Boursin! So unexpected but very welcome. The round-up is just as diverse and delicious as always - thanks for including me!


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