HEIRLOOM BEAN SOUP
1 ¼ pounds Benton’s Bacon, diced small
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely diced
2 celery ribs, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 fresh bay leaf
2 teaspoons chopped thyme
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
1 pound dried heirloom beans, soaked overnight and drained
10 cups chicken stock/vegetable stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper
In a large soup pot, cook the bacon over moderate heat, stirring, until browned and crisp, about 7 minutes. Drain and reserve the fat. Put the bacon aside.
Heat the olive oil in the soup pot. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf and 1 teaspoon each of the chopped thyme and rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the drained beans, stock and 3 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat and bring to a boil. Reduce soup to a simmer over moderately low heat until the beans are tender, about 1 ½ hours.
Discard the bay leaf and stir in the remaining thyme and rosemary. Season the soup with salt and pepper and transfer to shallow bowls. Garnish the soup with the bacon and serve.
Garnish with reserved Benton’s Bacon, chive, poached egg, and Olea Farms extra-virgin olive oil