Hearty White Bean Soup
Granted, cooking dried beans takes time, so you need to plan ahead. But creamy, flavorful beans are well worth the (mostly hands-off) wait. Our techniques yield perfect soup, and much more.
Why This Recipe Works
Here in the test kitchen we know that flavorful, tender beans start with a soak in salty water. For this stew, we brine dried cannellini beans overnight. Bacon provides a smoky flavor base for this mostly vegetable dish, and we use the rendered fat to soften onions, carrots, celery, and Swiss chard stems. After adding the brined beans and chicken broth, we move the pot to the oven, waiting until later to add the canned tomatoes (acidic ingredients can prevent beans from softening fully) and the delicate leaves of the Swiss chard. Once everything is tender, we add back the bacon right before serving to keep it crispy.