BEAN AND BACON SOUP
1 pound dry navy beans (4 cups)
4 cups water
1 pound bacon
1 medium carrot
1 celery stalk
1 yellow onion
1 garlic clove
1 pound tomatoes
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon thyme
3 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Makes 6 bowls.
Put navy beans and water in large pot. Bring to boil on high heat. Turn off heat, cover, and let beans stand in hot water for 1 hour.
Get busy while beans are standing. Cook, fry bacon on medium-high heat in Dutch oven until crispy. (Contemplate image of beans standing at attention.) Remove bacon and put on paper towels. Remove all but ¼ cup grease from Dutch oven. When cool, crumble bacon or cut it into ½” squares.
Dice carrot, celery, onion, and garlic clove. Puree tomatoes. Sauté carrot, onion and garlic at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Add bay leaf, celery, tomato puree, paprika, salt, thyme, chicken broth, and Worcestershire sauce to Dutch oven. Drain beans. Add beans to Dutch oven. Bring to boil on high heat. Stir frequently. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 2 hours or until beans are tender. Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with bacon.
1) According to culinary lore, Lord Sandys once asked two chemists from Worcestershire to recreate an Indian sauce. Why Lord Sandys didn’t ask two cooks instead is a mystery. Anyway, the two great men’s effort resulted in a particularly malodorous liquid; it might have stunk worse than lutefisk. The chemists moved the stinky sauce to the basement. Why didn’t they just throw it out? Years later, they tasted it again. These men truly did not fear death. But it tasted great.
3) Worcestershire sauce is made from fermented fish. Fish contains glutamates. Glutamates improve your mood.
4) Beer is made from fermented grain. Fermented grain improves your mood.
5) There are lot more establishments selling beer than ones offering fermented fish.
6) Or even lutefisk.
7) Oh my gosh, further research suggests that tidbit 1) is actually true and that L&P still make their sauce that way. I guess fermenting fish is pretty much like aging wine. Who knew?
8) In 1919, Worcestershire sauce was advertised as a way to grow beautiful hair.
9) I would think rubbing Worcestershire sauce on your head would make you smell like steak. Dogs would love you.
10) A famous photo from 1938, shows dictator Benito Mussolini and Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain alongside one of Lea & Perrin’s bottles.
11) It’s quite unlikely Mussolini rubbed the steak sauce on his head. The despot was entirely bald.
12) For Worcestershire sauce rubbed onto a man with a full head of hair isn’t visible. Oh sure, you can smell it, but you’re never quite sure if you’ve pinpointed the location to the right person.
13) On the other hand, Worcestershire sauce, or any other brown sauce for that matter, would have been quite evident on Mussolini’s bald dome.
14) One can imagine the rulers of Ethiopia and Albania pointing at the Italian dictator’s sauce-smeared head and laughing.
15) Mussolini would have wanted revenge for these insults. As a dictator, he could get it too. So, Benito had his armies conquer these countries.
16) Hitler saw how easy these conquests were and in 1939 invaded Poland. Great Britain and France declared war in response. And so, World War II began.
17) This is a cautionary tale. Always use good manners. Never make fun of people. The welfare of the world is at stake.
– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef
My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.