This delicious slow cooker bean and bacon soup recipe is the perfect winter comfort food. The recipe is inexpensive, thick, rich, and flavorful, with the best texture. Serve with some crusty bread or toasted garlic bread and a green salad for a wonderful meal.
When cooking dried beans, there are a few steps to follow. Always sort over the beans before you put them in the pot. Beans are a raw ingredient, and there may be sticks, twigs, or stones mixed among them. After sorting, rinse the beans well to remove any dust or dirt. Drain them, then use as directed in the recipe.
You can soak the beans overnight before using them in the recipe if you'd like; this helps remove sugars from the beans that can cause intestinal distress. Discard the soaking water; rinse and drain the beans again, and use as directed in the recipe.
The secret to the best bean soup is to add salt until the flavor blooms. But do this just before you serve the soup. Don't add too much salt at the start of cooking time, since the bacon is salty.
Tomatoes are added at the end of the cooking time because the acid in tomatoes prevents beans from softening, even when they're cooked for hours! If you like, you can mash some of the beans for a thicker soup before adding the tomatoes.
- In a large pan, cook bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels, crumble, and set aside.
- Add onions and garlic to the bacon fat remaining in pan; cook 3 to 4 minutes, then place in 4-5 quart crockpot.
- Add bacon, hearty bean soup mix, carrots, water, salt, pepper, and bay leaf to the slow cooker and mix well to blend.
- Cover crockpot and cook on low for 9 to 11 hours until beans are tender.
- Then add tomatoes, stir well, and cook on high for 30 to 40 minutes longer until hot.
- In a small bowl, mix sour cream with cornstarch, using a wire whisk and stirring until smooth. Add 1/2 cup of the hot broth from the soup and mix well, then stir into soup.
- Cover and cook on high 10 to 15 minutes until thickened, then serve immediately.