WHITE BEAN SOUP with coconut bacon and chives | recipe

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Preparing for winter in New England is a bit like preparing for a mental health crisis -- you know it will be worse than you can let yourself remember, you know you will need some no-brainer self care tools in place and you know that it will pass but in the midst of it that won't matter. My analogy here is fitting for me personally because the first usually brings about the latter, which I know to be true for many of us cold weather dwellers. It's not a matter of if, but when the cold will hit and when it does I generally don't want to venture out from under the blanket I will be living in for three to four months. That's why this year I'm stocking up on healing, cozy and warm recipes that take minimal effort. It may be sunny September now, but I'm preparing for the storm. Winter is coming, people. Are you ready? I'm not, but at the very least I'm looking forward to hearty, creamy, flavorful soups that are going to prepare my immune system and energy stores like this one. 

Ever heard of the danish word Hygge? In my understanding it essentially describes a way of enjoying life's most simple and essential pleasures in the most relaxed and cozy way possible. I'm carrying this spirit with me into the darker months and for me, food is my ultimate expression of Hygge. 

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Ingredients

1 medium onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic

1 large carrot

4 medium-small potatoes

8 oz. dry white beans (If using canned, cut the cooking time in half)

1 quart no-chicken broth

zest of 1 lemon

a few sprigs of fresh thyme

1 tsp salt

pepper to taste

coconut bacon bits

2 tbs tamari

1 tbs liquid smoke

1/4 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp white pepper

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Instructions

For the soup

  1. Heat an inch of broth in a medium pot over high heat. Once the broth is simmering add the onion, garlic and carrots and sauté until they begin to turn golden.
  2. Add the remaining vegetable broth, white beans and seasoning and bring to a boil. I like to both pluck the thyme leaves and leave one sprig whole which you will fish out at the end. Reduce and let simmer for 1 hour. 
  3. Add the potatoes and simmer for another 30-45 minutes. 
  4. Let cool before serving.

For the bacon bits

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine marinade ingredients and whisk together. Add coconut flakes and mix until coated. Let sit for 5 minutes for maximum soakage. 
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, evenly distribute flakes and bake for 15 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes and spreading back down evenly. Allow to cool at room temp or they won't crisp up.

Enjoy xx