We've used canned white beans here for their convenience. If you want you can take this soup up a notch and use dry beans that you've soaked overnight and cooked until soft.
- 1/4 pound bacon, diced
- 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups peeled (about 3/4 lb), chopped potatoes (recommend Yukon Gold)
- 6 cups peeled, chopped fresh tomatoes (or canned whole tomatoes with juice)*
- 2 cups chicken stock or broth
- 1 Tbsp dark brown sugar
- 1 15-ounce can white beans, drained
- Salt and pepper to taste
* To peel fresh tomatoes, cut a shallow cross on one end, blanch in boiling water for about 30 seconds, remove from boiling water and the peels should easily come off.
1 Cook bacon: Cook bacon on medium heat in a large thick-bottomed pot (5 to 6 quart) until lightly browned and fat is rendered.
Use a slotted spoon to remove bacon from the pan. Set on a plate lined with a paper towel. Drain off all but 1 Tbsp of bacon fat.
2 Sauté onion and garlic, add potatoes: Add the chopped onion to the pot, cook in the bacon fat on medium heat until soft.
Add the minced garlic and cook a minute more.
Add the chopped peeled potatoes and cook a few minutes more.
3 Add tomatoes, stock, simmer: Add the tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, lower heat to maintain a simmer. Cover and cook until potatoes are cooked through, about 20 minutes (or longer).
4 Add beans, blend half the soup: Stir in the brown sugar. Add half of the beans to the mixture. Use an immersion blender to blend about half of the soup mixture (or blend half of the soup in a standing blender and return to the pot).
5 Add bacon, remaining beans: Add bacon to the soup and the rest of the beans. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with crusty bread.