Campbell's Soup has been around since the late 1800s when a fruit merchant and an icebox manufacturer teamed up to provide canned vegetables, soups, fruits and preserves to a nation starved for convenience.
Then a young upstart took the water out of the canned soups, creating condensed soups, and slashing consumer prices. A 32-ounce can of soup became a 10-ounce can, and what used to cost 30 cents now cost only a dime.
Ah, the good old days. That same can of soup today costs well over a dollar.
But enough about food history, commerce and economics.
Soup is good food.
Here was another idea coined by the Campbell's Soup Company and imbedded in American culture. I don't dispute the notion, though I do take exception to labeling canned soups the benchmark for hearty and nutritious fare.
Since soups are so easy to prepare and wonderful one-pot meals, I'm amazed why more kitchens don't have a pot bubbling on the burner daily. In winter I like to make a nice rich soup weekly. This week I made White Bean Soup. Nothing fancy there, but I do like to add a little something extra to give things a bit of zing. I add either a spoonful of harissa or chipotle paste. Makes mama's bowl of comfort just a little bit livelier.
White Bean Soup
2 cups great northern beans, rinsed, cleaned, and drained
4 cloves of garlic
1 small onion diced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced in medium sized rounds
two strips of slap bacon, diced
1 small spoonful of harissa or chipotle paste (or you can substitute Knorr Chipotle cubes)
three bay leaves
1 quart of chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
In a stock pot, cover beans with cold water and then bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and let simmer for five minutes, then turn off heat and let the beans soak for an hour. Drain soaked beans and return to stockpot with chicken stock and four cups of cold water. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a low boil. Turn heat down and allow to simmer for several hours or until beans are just soft to the teeth.
Ladle into soup bowls ands garnish with cilantro or parsley. Serve with a dense and crusty baguette.