I often use the "Quick-Soak" method with dried beans which eliminates the overnight soaking. To "Quick-Soak" place the dried beans in a large pot and cover with water several inches above the beans. Bring to the boil and boil for 2 minutes; cover the pot and turn off the heat. Allow beans to soak for one hour. Drain and proceed as you would after soaking the beans overnight.
= Bean & Bacon Soup =
• 1 pound dried navy beans
• 6 cups cold water
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 1/4 teaspoon pepper
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 bay leaf
• 4 slices bacon, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
• 1 large onion, finely chopped
• 1 green pepper, finely chopped
• 1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
• 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
• 1 tablespoon minced, fresh parsley
• Grated Parmesan
1. Sort and wash beans. Place the beans in a large Dutch oven; cover with water 2-inches above the beans and let soak overnight.
2. Drain beans; cover with the 6 cups of cold water. Add salt, pepper, garlic and bay leaf.
3. Cook the bacon until crisp; set aside reserving drippings. Add onion and green pepper to the drippings and sauté until tender. Add the onion, green pepper and the carrots to the beans. Bring to a boil; cover and simmer one hour.
4. Add tomato sauce and parsley to the soup; cover and simmer an additional 30 minutes or until tender, adding the reserved bacon during the last 5 minutes. Ladle soup into serving bowls and sprinkle with the grated Parmesan.
Yield, about 3 quarts