Navy Bean Bacon Chowder

1½ c. dried navy beans, rinsed
2 c. cold water
6 slices thick-cut bacon
1 med. carrot, cut lengthwise into halves, then into 1-inch pieces
1 rib celery, chopped
1 med. onion, chopped
1 sm. potato, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning

1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 lg. can reduced-sodium chicken broth (46 oz.)
1 c. milk

Soak beans overnight in cold water.

Cook bacon in medium skillet over medium heat. Drain and crumble. Combine carrot, celery, onion, potato, Italian seasoning, pepper, beans and bacon in crock pot; mix slightly. Pour broth over top. Cover and cook on low 7½ to 9 hours or until beans are crisp-tender.

Ladle 2 cups of soup into food processor or blender. Process until smooth; return to slow cooker. Add milk; cover and heat on high 10 minutes or until heated through.

Makes 6 servings.

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