Winter Soup with Bacon

All you need to make a good hearty soup are a couple of onions, a little garlic, some tired old vegetables, some cooked beans, grains, or pasta, and the courage to proceed without measuring. Bon Appetit!


  • Olive oil, butter, or bacon fat
  • Chopped onions
  • Minced garlic
  • Vegetable or Chicken Stock

Hard vegetables such as:

  • Carrots
  • Parsnips
  • Sun Chokes
  • Sweet Potatoes

Soft vegetables such as:

  • Zucchini
  • Green Beans
  • Swiss Chard
  • Kale
  • Cooked Beans
  • Brown Rice, Barley, or Wheat Berries
  • Pasta
  • Cooked bacon
  • Dried red pepper flakes
  • Smoked Pimenton


First fry the bacon until crisp in a deep heavy pot.  Remove the bacon and cut into pieces.  Then, cook the onions in the fat; add the garlic and coon a minute more; then add the vegetable or chicken stock with the hard vegetables and cook 10-15 minutes; then add the soft vegetables and cook another 5 minutes.  Then, add the beans, grains, or pasta with the bacon and seasonings and cook another 5 minutes.  Add water if necessary.  Taste and add salt and pepper. Have fun!  Serve with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.  (This soup will keep for 5 days in the refrigerator, at which point you can boil it up, store in a clean container, and chill for another 5 days.)

Note:  Here’s how to prepare dried beans—the best is to soak them overnight in cold water, then cook them in fresh water maybe with onions and herbs until they are tender, discarding the cooking water.  The next best is to put the beans in a pot with plenty of cold water, bring it to a boil, cover and turn off the heat and let sit for one hour, then discard the liquid.  The beans can now be added to soups, stews, and other dishes.

© Mary S. Risley