8 slices bacon, diced (preferably applewood smoked bacon)
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
3 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups chicken stock or broth
3 cans (15 oz) Great Northern beans or navy beans, drained and rinsed
2 T tomato paste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large heavy pot or Dutch oven, cook the bacon until crisp.
Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl and pour off and discard all but 1 tablespoon of the grease.
Add the onion, carrots, and celery and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and sauté another minute.
Pour in the chicken stock or broth, the drained beans, and tomato paste.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Stir to completely combine.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and partially cover with a lid.
Simmer for 30 minutes.
Using an immersion blender, blend the soup for just a couple of seconds to puree some of the beans.
Alternatively, you can carefully pour about 2 cups into a blender and puree, then pour back into the pot.
Add half of the bacon and simmer another 5 minutes.
Ladle into warm soup bowls and top with remaining bacon and serve.
Serves 4 to 6