White Bean and Bacon Soup with Escarole

Bacon is a fundamental ingredient in many slow-cooked recipes, imparting richness to otherwise one-dimensional dishes. Mild applewood-smoked bacon enhances the subtle flavors of this soup of beans and greens.

  • Servings: 10
White Bean and Bacon Soup with Escarole

Source: Martha Stewart Living, March 2007


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 ounces applewood-smoked slab bacon, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 2 medium onions (about 6 ounces each), finely chopped
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 quarts homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock
  • 1 pound dried white beans, soaked overnight, drained, and rinsed
  • 3 large thyme sprigs
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 head escarole, cut crosswise into strips


  1. Heat oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add bacon, and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate.

  2. Add onions and shallot to pan; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent and soft, about 8 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute more.

  3. Return bacon to pan. Stir in stock, beans, thyme, cayenne, and 1 teaspoon salt; season with pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover, and simmer 30 minutes. Uncover, and cook until beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours more.

  4. Stir in escarole. Cook 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook's Notes

A fresh slab of bacon can be sliced or diced however you like (remove the rind if you prefer). To make lardons, cut the slab into thick slices, then cut them crosswise into cubes or strips. Fry the pieces until crisp.


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