Crockpot Bean and Bacon Soup Slow Cooker
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Crockpot Bean and Bacon Soup

Crockpot Bean and Bacon Soup

Crockpot soup is one of my favorite things in the winter. It's a quick, wholesome family meal and a wonderful soup recipe overall. My husband has been really into making fresh bread for the past couple of years and paired with the amazing soup recipe that we made in the slow cooker, we know that we have a winner every time we make this for a family dinner. We hope that this Crockpot Bean and Bacon Soup recipe post inspires you. 

Crockpot Bean and Bacon Soup

Crockpot Bean and Bacon Soup

Ingredients

soup ingredientsfrying baconchopped vegetableswashing beansstirring ingredients in broth

Crockpot Bean and Bacon Soup

Crockpot Bean and Bacon Soup

Directions

  1. Sort beans and remove any debris or rocks. Rinse beans under cold water.
  2. Cut bacon into small pieces and fry in a cast iron skillet till crispy.
  3. Add all ingredients to the slow cooker.
  4. Cook on high for 2 hours. Stir. Add salt and pepper if needed.
  5. Then cook on low for about 6 hours until beans are tender.
  6. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Slow Cooker Bean and Bacon Soup

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Sort beans and remove any debris or rocks. Rinse beans under cold water.
  2. Cut bacon into small pieces and fry in cast iron skillet till crispy.
  3. Add all ingredients to slow cooker.
  4. Cook on high for 2 hours. Stir. Add salt and pepper if needed.
  5. Then cook on low for about 6 hours until beans are tender.
  6. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Crockpot Bean and Bacon Soup

Where Did Bean and Bacon Soup Come From?

Tracing the exact history of bean and bacon soup proves challenging, as humble peasant dishes like this often lack documented origins. However, by drawing on historical context and culinary parallels, we can paint a picture of its probable journey.

Ancient Roots: While a definitive origin is elusive, legumes like beans and lentils have been staples in various cultures for millennia. Combining them with grains or starches for hearty stews dates back to ancient civilizations across continents. Soup cultures in the Mediterranean and Europe likely played a role. Roman “puls” incorporated legumes and grains, while medieval European peasant dishes often featured beans and bacon as affordable ingredients.

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Evolution and Variations: As the dish traveled through regions and cultures, specific ingredients adapted. Navy beans, readily available in North America, became popular choices, while European variations might have used white beans or lentils. Broths evolved based on local preferences and available ingredients. Ham hocks or smoked meats might have added depth in Europe, while tomato-based broths might have emerged in Italy or Spain.

Rise in Popularity: In times of scarcity, bean and bacon soup offered a satisfying and affordable meal, contributing to its enduring popularity. In the American South, Senate bean soup, a version served in the U.S. Senate dining room, showcases its long-standing presence and cultural significance.

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Modern Interpretations: From classic home-cooked versions to modern restaurant interpretations, the soup continues to evolve. Some chefs elevate it with gourmet ingredients, while others stay true to its rustic roots. International flavors like cumin, chili peppers, or coconut milk can find their way into modern variations, reflecting culinary globalization.

Variations on Bean and Bacon Soup

Research specific regional variations like Portuguese caldo verde with kale or French cassoulet with sausage. Explore historical cookbooks or recipes passed down through generations to understand traditional methods and ingredients. Experiment with your recipe, adding spices, herbs, or different types of beans to personalize this timeless dish.

  • French Cassoulet: This hearty stew incorporates white beans, sausage, and sometimes duck confit, offering a rich and complex flavor profile.
  • Portuguese Caldo Verde: Featuring kale, potato, and spicy chouri├žo sausage, this vibrant green soup provides a lighter and more flavorful variation.
  • Italian Pasta Fagioli: Combining white beans, pasta, tomatoes, and pancetta, this Italian version offers a satisfying and flavorful one-pot meal.
  • American Senate Bean Soup: This classic version, popular in the U.S. Senate dining room, uses navy beans, ham hock, and simple seasonings for a comforting and nostalgic taste.
  • Smoky Chipotle: Add smoked paprika or chipotle peppers for a touch of smoky heat, perfectly pairing with cheddar cheese and cornbread.
  • Spicy Chorizo: Infuse the soup with chorizo sausage for a bold and flavorful twist, balancing it with creamy sour cream or Greek yogurt.
  • Mediterranean Herb Garden: Fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, and oregano bring a bright and aromatic touch, complemented by feta cheese and a squeeze of lemon.
  • Asian-Inspired Curry: Transform the soup with coconut milk, curry paste, and vegetables like carrots and bell peppers for a unique and flavorful fusion.
  • Beans: Explore different types of beans like black beans, pinto beans, or even chickpeas for a change in texture and flavor.
  • Bacon: Experiment with smoked sausage, pancetta, or even ground meat for a different savory element.
  • Vegetables: Add chopped vegetables like celery, carrots, potatoes, or spinach for increased nutrition and textural variety.
  • Broth: Use chicken broth, vegetable broth, or even smoky ham broth for a deeper flavor profile.

Tips for Making the Best Bean and Bacon Soup

  • Soak your beans overnight for faster cooking and better digestion.
  • Use high-quality bacon for the best flavor. Applewood Smoked Bacon is a fave of mine. 
  • Don't be afraid to add vegetables like carrots, celery, onions, or spinach for added nutrients and flavor.
  • Get creative with toppings: Get creative with toppings like chopped fresh herbs, shredded cheese, sour cream, crispy bacon bits, diced avocado, or a dollop of pesto.
  • Bread: Pair your soup with crusty bread, crackers, or cornbread for a satisfying complete meal.
  • Leftovers: Bean and bacon soup is perfect for leftovers, as the flavors deepen and meld together even more the next day.

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Crockpot Bean and Bacon Soup

Bean and bacon soup's exact origin is lost to time, but its presence across cultures and eras suggests a long and diverse history. Adaptability to local ingredients and preferences has led to numerous variations, showcasing its global reach. Its enduring popularity stems from its affordability, comfort, and ability to accommodate diverse flavors and cultural influences. The history of food is often a story of collective creativity and adaptation. While the exact beginnings of bean and bacon soup remain a mystery, its continued presence on our tables across cultures and generations speaks volumes about its enduring appeal.  The beauty of bean and bacon soup lies in its versatility, allowing for endless variations based on regional preferences, cultural influences, and personal tastes. We hope that this Crockpot Bean and Bacon Soup recipe inspires you. Happy cooking!

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