Emily wanted this recipe from Soup Week. I love it at this time of year, because I can make it at lunch time and come home after a cold soccer game to a warm meal. It's a recipe from America's Test Kitchen. I modified it for the crock pot. I like it better that way. The beans are creamier. Yum!
White Bean and Garlic Soup
1 lb white beans (The recipe calls for cannellini beans, but I've always used great northern beans.)
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped fine
1 small head garlic, top third and loose papery skins removed and discarded
6 cups chicken broth
1 sprig rosemary, or 1 tsp dried
1/4 c. minced fresh parsley, or 1 Tbsp dried
1. Soak the beans by either bringing the beans and 6 cups water to a boil, simmer for 2 minutes, remove from heat, cover and let soak for 1 hour. Or you can put the beans in a big pot the night before you want to make this, cover them with water and let them soak until you are ready to make the soup. Drain the beans and put them in your crock pot.
2. Cook the bacon in the same pot you used to soak the beans in over medium heat until crisp. Transfer the bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate, leaving the rendered fat behind in the pot. Add the onion and cook until softened. Stir in the garlic head and cook for 30 seconds.
3. Transfer the onion and garlic to the crock pot. Add the broth and 1 tsp. salt (If you are using the dried herbs, add them now). Turn on the crock pot to low and cook for 6 hours.
4. Add the fresh herbs, if you are using them now. Remove the garlic head and squeeze out the softened cloves. Mince the softened garlic and return it to the soup. Discard the fresh rosemary. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, garnishing with bacon.
Don't be scared by the whole garlic head. It roasts in the soup and turns nutty and mild.