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Elegant Eating from Downton Abbey: Smoked Pork and White Bean Soup

Elegant Eating from Downton Abbey: Smoked Pork and White Bean Soup
Elegant Eating from Downton Abbey: Smoked Pork and White Bean Soup
Chef Larry Edwards/Casa de Cuisine

It doesn't really matter whether its Edwardian England or the winter of today, nothing warms the body and the soul quite like a hearty soup. There is just something about relaxing over a steaming bowl of soup after putting up with a hectic day and the stress which naturally comes with the holidays. This year, do yourself a favor and make some fresh soups and enjoy the chilly night supplied by Mr. Jack Frost himself.

The first thing you don't want to do is confuse this soup with that industrial orange gunk known as Campbell's Bean and Bacon Soup. This is made fresh with no fake coloring, no chemicals and no preservatives. This is a very earthy soup and like most of the dishes served during the Edwardian era, all the ingredients came from the grounds of the Abbey.

Whereas many soups of this ilk take a while to prepare, this soup is actually done pretty quickly. We get the full flavor of the vegetables used because we saute them before they actually enter any liquid. You can use any type of smoked pork for this soup, but we prefer the full flavor of applewood smoked bacon.

If you are going to use canned white beans, make sure they are of the organic variety. Organic canned beans have a natural preservative in the liquid they are canned in and you can use this liquid in the soup.

For more on the food of Downton Abbey, visit the free Facebook page called The Food of Downton Abbey!

Ingredients needed to make Smoked Pork and White Bean Soup (serves 4):

  • 1/2 pound smoked bacon, chopped
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly smashed
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 pound spinach, chopped
  • 2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 15oz. cans white bean (with their liquid)

Steps:

  1. In a medium saute pan over medium heat, add the bacon and cook until crisp.
  2. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside. Remove all but 1/4 cup of the rendered bacon fat from the pan.
  3. Into the pan add the onion and garlic and saute 5 minutes.
  4. Add the tomato and spinach and saute 3 minutes.
  5. In a medium pot over medium heat, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Add the sauteed vegetables, lower the heat to a simmer and cook 20 minutes.
  6. Pour the soup, in batches, into a blender and puree.
  7. Pour the puree into the pot and stir in the cream, white beans (with their liquid) and the bacon.
  8. Bring the soup to a simmer and serve.

The internationally bestselling cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards, "Edwardian Cooking: 80 Recipes Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals," is now in it's third printing and available worldwide in both hard cover and e-book versions. The paperback version will be released March 4, 2014.