Crispy cheddar-cheese toasts are perfect for dunking in a hearty bowl of bean, bacon, and vegetable soup.
Source: Martha Stewart Kids, Fall
1/2 pound (about 10 slices) bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small onion, finely diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 celery stalks, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cans (15 1/2 ounces each) white beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pinch of ground pepper
4 slices sandwich bread
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
In a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat, cook the bacon pieces, stirring frequently, until brown and just crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate; set aside.
Pour all but about 1 tablespoon of bacon fat from the pan. Return the pan to the heat; add the onion, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the stock and 2 cups water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Add the beans, sage, salt and pepper, and half of the reserved bacon. Simmer for a few more minutes while preparing the cheese toasts.
Meanwhile, heat the broiler; place bread on a baking sheet. Sprinkle bread with cheese; broil until cheese is melted and bread is just golden, about 2 minutes. Cut into triangles.
Garnish soup with remaining bacon, and serve with cheese toasts on the side.