16 Bean Soup with Bacon

This soup is visually interesting because of all the different sizes and colors of beans. It has varying textures, a light smoky aroma and a really nice flavor,without being overly spicy.

This recipe also works nicely with 16 Bean mix, (or pretty much any kind of dried beans you want to use). If you don’t have smoked Paprika, you can substitute regular Paprika and a 1/4t liquid smoke.

1 Lb Smoked Bacon, Uncured – no nitrates or nitrites
32 Oz Low Sodium Chicken Stock
32 Oz Water
1 Lb Package Assorted 16 Beans (dried)
1 Medium Yellow Onion, minced
3 Stalks Celery with greens, cut into 1/3″ pieces
2 Medium Carrots, finely cut into 1/4″ pieces
1 Small Red Bell Pepper, cut into 1/4″ x 1/2″ pieces
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 T Apple Cider Vinegar
1 3/4 T Smoked Paprika
1 3/4 t Oregano
1 t Ground Cumin
1 t Garlic Powder
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • Examine beans and remove anything that isn’t a bean, then rinse.
  • Place in a large pot, add water to cover by at least three inches, cover and bring to a boil.
  • Boil covered for 2 minutes
  • Let sit covered for one hour, drain, rinse place in a bowl and set aside. Dry pot.
  • Cut the bacon into 2″ pieces and add to pot. Heat on medium and stir frequently, until bacon is cooked. It’s important to fully cook the bacon, since it won’t get any crispier after you add the liquid.
  • Once the bacon is cooked, move it to a small bowl and discard all the grease except for one tablespoon.
  • Return the pot to the heat and add all the veggies except the garlic.  Add a heavy pinch of salt and sweat until slightly soft. Add the garlic, and continue until soft and transparent.
  • Add all the spices and stir.
  • Add the chicken stock and deglaze the bottom of the pot (scrape up all the brown bits)
  • Add the beans to the pot, add the water, stir and bring to a simmer.
  • Place in a 350° oven and cook until the beans are soft (approximately another two to three hours).
  • Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
  • Optional but recommended: Refrigerate overnight, then skim excess fat from surface before reheating and serving.
  • Add bacon back to individual bowls when serving, so it doesn’t get soggy.

2 thoughts on “16 Bean Soup with Bacon”

  1. Good catch! Thanks!

    The bacon goes back into the bowls just before serving. If you toss it back into the pot while cooking, it gets soggy.

    I updated the recipe.

  2. This recipe does not tell us when to return the bacon to the pot after it was sauteed and placed in a bowl to remove most of the grease. The sequence goes through adding all the other things, but never says add the bacon back to the pot.

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