The little man's favorite food these days -- and probably for all time -- is chocolate. His second favorite? Forget chicken finger or grilled cheese or hamburgers, or all those perennial kid favorites. My little man likes him some beans.
I've made this soup several times, tweaking the ingredients here and there to find what I works best. And each and every time, the little man gobbles this up like it's his first meal in days. Beans first.
The soup starts with bacon, but pancetta would be a fine substitute, or even some ham. Or you can try it without the bacon altogether. Although I'm not sure why anyone would pass up the opportunity to make bacon. (In fact, we usually cook up the remainder of the package of bacon and keep it in the fridge for another of the little man's favorites -- BLTs. With mayo. And minus the L.)
Chicken, Potato, and White Bean Soup
4 slices bacon, finely chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 lb. potatoes, cut into cubes
2 carrots, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
Salt and pepper
1 32-oz. container (4 c.) chicken broth, plus one 14-oz can
1 1/2-2 c. chopped cooked chicken
2 15.5-oz. cans small white beans, drained
Additional salt and pepper, to taste
1. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes.
3. Add the potatoes, carrots, bay leaf, thyme, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables start to sweat, about 4-5 minutes.
4. Add chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the potatoes and carrots are tender, about 15 minutes.
5. Add the chicken and white beans and cook until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.