I remember Campbell’s Bean with Bacon soup making several appearances at my childhood table. I didn’t like it for the longest time. In fact, I didn’t like beans period. Especially baked beans. Clearly, I was a troubled child. I finally overcame my distain for these particular legumes, and embarrassingly enjoyed this sodium packed soup with my family often.
Flash forward a particular number of years, and here we are. I saw this recipe in my latest wine shipment insert from Viansa, and thought it was the perfect time of year to make soup. It didn’t once cross my mind that this soup would bring me back to my childhood frienemy, Campbell’s. But oddly enough, it did. Much better, and far more classy, however! ;)
The soup didn’t turn out quite a thick as the photo in the insert appeared, but that could easily be fixed by pureeing more beans. I didn’t, and I still loved it. While the soup reminded me of bean with bacon soup, the smell made me think of a mushroom pizza. Probably because of the roasted mushrooms, thyme and sage (great observation, Captain Obvious!). The roasted mushrooms alone were amazing, I could have probably just eaten the entire pan full, but because I didn’t have any more, I restrained myself and put them in the soup.
Adding the crispy pancetta is an absolute necessity. If you don’t have it, or don’t want to spend the dough for it, bacon would be a fine substitute. The crunchiness of the pancetta give the soup a balanced texture, while the salt really deepens the flavors. Serve with a salad or a nice hunk of bread (rosemary focaccia pictured above) and you have a wonderful, light but filling winter meal.
White Bean and Roasted Mushroom Soup
Source: Adapted from Viansa
Servings: About 8
1-2 tbsp. olive oil
6 oz. pancetta
16 oz. mushrooms, halved or quartered (so they are similar in size)
2 large sweet onions, quartered
3 garlic cloves, slightly crushed
1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
1 1/2 tsp pepper, divided
8-10 fresh sage leaves
8-10 stems + 1 tbsp. fresh thyme, divided
48 oz. chicken broth
3-15 oz cans white beans, drained
1. Drizzle olive oil in small saucepan over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook until crispy and golden, about 8-10 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate.
2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss mushrooms, onions and garlic with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread on prepared baking sheet. Add sage leaves and stems of thyme. Roast for 10 minutes, toss, and roast for additional 15 minutes.
3. While vegetables are roasting, add broth, beans, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and 1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves to a large stock pot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. When vegetables are done roasting, separate mushrooms from onions and garlic. Retrieve 2 cups of the white beans and 1 cup of the broth from the stock pot. Add to food processor or blender along with roasted onions and garlic. Blend until smooth.
4. Add pureed bean mixture back to stock pot, bring to a boil and whisk until smooth. Reduce heat to simmer. Add roasted mushrooms to soup. Salt and pepper to taste and top with pancetta.