A Cozy Stew: Creamy White Bean Stew With Smokey Bacon, My Companion On A Grey Day

A Cozy Stew: Creamy White Bean Stew With Smokey Bacon, My Companion On A Grey Day post image

There’s often a feeling of sleepiness, of slight lagging, that accompanies a grey day in the winter. My head lifts off of the pillow in the morning only to desperately long to be placed back down again, back into that same warm indentation that it created during early morning’s sweet sleep. As I stare out my bedroom window, out at the color-less atmosphere, the murky fish tank that surrounds so completely, I can almost see a quiet solitude flutter down, like a feather or ash, and ever so softly land on the earth below; a lonely isolation that beckons for either a deep and vigorous introspection of life, or a complete apathy towards anything resembling effort. Even the dirty-dishwater colored sky seems to have a fuzzy, angora-like blanket protectively wrapped around itself this morning, one that shields it from any playful mischief that the sun may have in mind, with its poking rays and playful light. The sky seems to be communicating that it, too, needs some time to hole-up somewhere out of sight, in a place where it can rest in peaceful isolation and not be its usual, chipper blue. I get such comfort in pulling my hoody up over my head today, for hiding in whatever little shell is available to me, and snuggling against something soft and enveloping, something soothing and protective. Even the pigeons on the wires up above seem to have their tiny eyes closed as they sit, little heads and beaks nestled into their plump chests, basking in the stillness that is a grey, winter day.

Creamy White Bean Stew

The stew pot comes alive on a matte-grey day like this one; it seems to know that it has a glorious job to do, that it has the opportunity to be of magnificent service and produce sheer comfort from within itself. A thick, hearty, warming yet simple stew has the power to transform the melancholy heart and to warm one’s core, completely; it can enliven a sleepy soul, sending ripples of heat and delicious sustenance to the partaker’s quiet spirit. And when it has the marvelous partnership of chewy, crusty, rustic bread that can be torn into small pieces and dipped, then there is no better combination to be found when it comes to breathing life back into a cold, quiet day—it gently coaxes one’s spirit into the open place of love, joy and gratitude, which is so very necessary, indeed.

Creamy White Bean Stew

Creamy White Bean Stew

Creamy, White Bean Stew is a cozy blanket for the inside of the body; it is the warm liquid light that is needed to invert the sky’s frown on a chilly, grey, winter day. Simple, rustic and perfumed with a savory smokiness, it provides that gentle nudge to continue on with the day; the little spark that takes away at least some of the gloom, and encourages one to find the beauty in a little reflection, in a little stillness, that a grey day in the winter will bring to each of us, from time to time.

Taste what’s good and pass it on.

Ingrid

Creamy White Bean Stew

Creamy, White Bean Stew with Smoky, Thick-Cut Bacon, Vegetables and Fragrant Herbs
Print this recipe

(Serves about 6)

Ingredients:

12 ounces apple smoked bacon, chopped into small pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, small dice
2 carrots, small dice
2 celery stalks, small dice
4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• Pinch or two sea salt
½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
6 (15 ounce) cans small white beans (or navy beans), drained and rinsed
4 cups chicken stock, hot
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Preparation:

-Place a large Dutch oven, or heavy bottom pot, over medium-high heat; once the pot is hot, add in a small drizzle of olive oil, and the chopped bacon; crisp the bacon completely until nice and brown, then remove with a slotted spoon, drain it on some paper towel, and set it aside for a moment; reserve about 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat, and set that aside for a moment, as well; wipe out the pot, and return it to medium-high heat.

-Next, add back into the pot the bacon fat, along with the olive oil and the butter, and allow them to melt together; once melted and hot, add in the diced onion, carrots and celery, and allow them to soften and saute for about 5 minutes; next, add in the garlic, and once it becomes aromatic, add in about 2/3 of the reserved, crisped bacon, as well as the Italian seasoning, the sea salt and the pepper, along with the white beans, and stir to combine; next, add in the hot chicken stock, stir, and allow the stew to gently simmer for about 40-45 minutes, partially covered with lid; about half way through the cooking process, mash the beans a little bit with the  back of your spoon, or with a potato masher, to break up the beans a little bit and release their natural starch to thicken the stew; after about 40 minutes, turn the heat off and finish the stew by adding in the chopped parsley, the lemon zest and the lemon juice; serve the stew with some nice, crusty bread to dip, and garnish with some of the remaining crisped bacon.





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{ 71 comments… add one }

  • Hermann-Josef Ammel February 11, 2013, 7:44 am

    This looks delicious! I have to cook! Thanks for the recipe!
    Greetings from Germany

    Hermann

    • The Cozy Apron February 11, 2013, 2:36 pm

      Hi Hermann-Josef, I do hope you give this comforting stew a try; and thank you for the greetings from Germany – glad to have you stop by!

  • Cheri Bush February 16, 2013, 8:36 am

    Good morning…:) looks amazing and wondering if you could do this in the crockpot? Maybe with uncooked beans or even the canned? Thank you for sharing!!

    • The Cozy Apron February 16, 2013, 6:22 pm

      Hi Cheri, thanks for your question. Yes, you can certainly prepare this stew in your crockpot, even using the canned beans for convenience. You do actually want the beans to “break down” slightly, as this creates the creaminess; just keep in mind your setting as it will depend on how long you plan on cooking it. (This stew only takes about 40 minutes using the regular cooking method.)

      • Cheri Bush February 17, 2013, 7:11 am

        awww thank you so much for answering..:) I have the beans soaking now….and am going to do the rest the way you have done it and then toss it in the crock pot to cook all day…it’s only going to be 30 today so perfect day to make this!! :) and our lives are so busy that I love to use my crockpot when I can…:) we are also working on trying to save money and make our lives more economically sound, including our grocery bill….lol…and this is perfect for that!!! I love to cook but there has to be a way to cut back on costs and help us in these times!! Thank you so much!! :) I have saved your blog to my favorites and am going to look at more of your great stuff today…Hope your Sunday is sweet!

        • The Cozy Apron February 17, 2013, 8:41 am

          Cheri, thank you so much for sharing all of that with me. My goal is to create recipes that are not only healthy to put into the body, and comforting, but that will be economically sound, and will stretch in portions and fill the belly. I do hope that you indeed come back to check out more recipes, and that you continue to find some options that you’d like to prepare for yourself and your family. Have a beautiful week!

        • Maria H February 19, 2013, 10:52 am

          Hi Cheri, Can you tell me how many dried beans you used? I would like to use them as well. Thank you!

  • Mary Porter February 17, 2013, 10:17 am

    Your recipe sounds delicious and your writing just as beautiful.

    • The Cozy Apron February 17, 2013, 12:44 pm

      Mary, thank you so very much for that!

    • Maria H February 19, 2013, 9:12 am

      I agree Mary!!! Great find for me today, it’s chilly this week in Northern California–it even frosted last night. ;)

  • Shaun April 13, 2013, 4:55 pm

    Just had the perfect opportunity to try this one. For some reason it cooled down a bit today, here in Southern Cal, giving me the opportunity to make one more ‘winter’ dish.
    It is now finishing up on the stove and it smells wonderful.
    Thanks for the recipe idea!

    • The Cozy Apron April 13, 2013, 5:14 pm

      Shaun, I agree – today was the perfect day here in SoCal to have a stew like this! (I’m glad it’s still a bit on the cool side here – not ready for the heat to start!) Thanks for sharing your comments; enjoy the recipe!

  • Linda May 20, 2013, 4:48 pm

    This looks AWESOME. Can’t wait to make it!! Thanks for posting and sharing. I know my belly will be thanking you soon.

    • The Cozy Apron May 20, 2013, 11:04 pm

      Linda, my pleasure! I truly hope you give this a try, and that your belly enjoys! ;-)

  • Wendy J Alley June 24, 2013, 7:17 pm

    This was awesome. I will be making this a lot.

  • Good Green Witch August 22, 2013, 7:11 am

    Um…..

    YUM!!!!!

  • KRISTIN September 25, 2013, 7:26 pm

    I made this for dinner, and even my husband who says he doesn’t like soup ate a huge bowl of it. It’s so yummy! I added a dash of hot sauce to give it a kick. :) Great recipe!

    • The Cozy Apron September 26, 2013, 2:22 pm

      Kristin, the hot sauce addition sounds perfect! Isn’t it great when even the hubby who says “he doesn’t like soup” is a happy camper with a full belly? Thanks for stopping by to share!

  • Nadine September 28, 2013, 7:30 am

    6 (15oz) cans of beans?? and it only serves 6 people. Is this a typo? That would be a whole can of beans in one serving. Looks delicious , just confused by that amount of beans. Thanks.

    • The Cozy Apron September 28, 2013, 1:34 pm

      Hi Nadine! I know that the 6 (15 oz) cans may sound like a lot of beans, but this stew does cook down to a nice, thick & hearty consistency, so what is written in the recipe is correct; and it serves about 6 people a full bowl serving, as a main meal (this is not an appetizer portion/serving). I hope you give this recipe a try and have a chance to taste it! :-)

      • Nadine September 28, 2013, 4:41 pm

        Thanks so much for getting back to me. I have read other comments and seems like a success. I am planning on making this for a family Thanksgiving dinner, (Canadian), so that is coming up soon. Wow, 6 cans ! ……..I’ll go with it. Thank you.

        • The Cozy Apron September 28, 2013, 6:07 pm

          Well have a wonderful Canadian Thanksgiving Day!! I truly hope that you and your family enjoy this cozy stew!

  • Janet September 28, 2013, 9:33 am

    Ingrid, your writing is beautiful! I found myself actually looking forward to a grey winter day so I can imagine that it’s a soft angora sweater surrounding me!! Inspired! I look forward to reading all of your recipes!

    ps….oh, and the soup looks delicious too!! ;)

    • The Cozy Apron September 28, 2013, 1:37 pm

      Janet, thank you so very much for such lovely comments! I do hope you get the chance to peruse more recipes and posts – thank you for your readership!

  • Leah September 28, 2013, 8:30 pm

    Second meal of yours I’ve made this week. So delicious! Very hearty,flavorful and comforting. Sitting on the couched stuffed as a Thanksgiving turkey and playing Go Fish with my 3 year old. Watching my 18 month old carrying around his bowl and eating it while walking around … While my dog follows him close by.

    • The Cozy Apron September 29, 2013, 2:44 pm

      Leah, I live for comments like yours! Oh do I love that…very funny, and heart-warming; and the biggest bonus is when the little ones enjoy the recipes, too, isn’t it? I’m imagining a very cozy scenario with you spending time with your family; how beautiful! (And by the way, did the dog ever succeed in getting a little drop of the soup?) ;-)

      • Leah September 30, 2013, 12:30 pm

        Well my son didn’t share a drop of soup. But I couldn’t resist in sharing so I mixed a couple spoonfuls into my dogs dish, needless to say he cleaned his bowl. Eating leftovers with salad for lunch today. Just as yummy!

        • The Cozy Apron September 30, 2013, 2:37 pm

          Leah, my husband and I do exactly the same thing with our dog; apart from chocolate and other no-no’s for dogs, she pretty much has to sample everything we’re having, as she’s a foodie, too! So glad you enjoyed your leftovers today – what a healthy lunch!

  • Meredith Jane September 29, 2013, 8:43 am

    Have this on my stove simmering! Smells yummy!

    • The Cozy Apron September 30, 2013, 3:38 pm

      Hi Meredith! I can’t wait for you to try it – I really hope you enjoy this hearty stew as much as we do! Thanks for sharing…

  • Stephanie September 29, 2013, 11:50 am

    Just made this stew for the Bears game! I added some rotisserie chicken & it is absolutely delicious :) thanks for the awesome recipe! It was enjoyed by many people!

    • The Cozy Apron September 30, 2013, 3:41 pm

      Stephanie, the addition of the rotisserie chicken is just perfect; it’s the other great alternative to the bacon, or even an addition, of course. It makes me so happy to read that a bunch of you filled your bellies with some of this warm goodness while enjoying watching a game!

  • Winnie September 29, 2013, 5:17 pm

    We used to eat something similar to this when we were in Turkey, except it had lamb – not the bacon. I’m going to try your recipe using lamb… I hope it tastes as good as I remember!

    • The Cozy Apron September 30, 2013, 3:42 pm

      Hi Winnie, I’d love to know how it turns out for you if you give it try with the lamb! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Erika October 1, 2013, 7:06 am

    This was fantastic! I made it on Sunday morning, put it in the fridge and then put it in my crock pot all day on Monday. It was delicious!! Perfect fall food!

    • The Cozy Apron October 1, 2013, 1:04 pm

      Erika, that sounds like a great way to prep this! So nice to have something hot and cozy for when you get home on a chilly, fall Monday night, isn’t it? Thank you for commenting!

  • Elizabeth October 3, 2013, 5:27 pm

    I just made this for dinner! De-Lish! I used cilantro, because I adore it, and I always sprinkle everything with whole flax seeds. It was perfect! Thanks for your beautiful post~Lizzie

    • The Cozy Apron October 4, 2013, 9:23 am

      Hi Lizzie! Can I tell you that you’re a gal after my own heart? I, too, absolutely adore cilantro, and have also added it to this stew (and pretty much all of my other soups, stews, etc.) many times before! Glad you enjoyed! :-)

  • Noella October 18, 2013, 3:20 pm

    Had this soup for lunch at my sisters this week. DELICIOUS and so comforting:) I will definitely make this soup. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    • The Cozy Apron October 18, 2013, 6:02 pm

      Noella, that’s great! Thanks for coming by and letting me know – so glad you’ll be giving this a try yourself!

  • Greg October 31, 2013, 6:16 pm

    I’m planning on making this soup but wanted to use dried beans. What size bag of beans would you recommend? I have a 16oz bag of beans and am guessing I should use all of it. Thank you!

  • The Cozy Apron November 1, 2013, 8:20 am

    Hi Greg, great question! I did a little research and found that 1 pound of dried beans will yield about 5 (15 ounce) cans; so since my recipe calls for 6 cans, I would go ahead and use the whole bag, plus perhaps even another 3 ounces. However, if you only want to use the pound that’s on hand for you, then you may need to adjust the stock amount slightly as you want this to be nice and thick. Hope you enjoy!

  • Greg November 5, 2013, 1:53 pm

    I made this using a 16oz bag of dried beans that soaked over night, and it came out great. It was nice and thick and perfect for a fall evening. I will definitely make this again. Thanks for sharing Cozy Apron!

    • The Cozy Apron November 5, 2013, 3:22 pm

      Oh, that’s great Greg! And thanks so much for taking the time to come back and let me know how it turned out with the pound of dried beans – I was hoping it would be hearty and soul-warming! Super. :-)

  • Linda from NJ November 6, 2013, 10:14 am

    This has got to be one of the best soups/stews I’ve ever made or ever eaten!!! Ever since happening upon this recipe I have been wanting to make it and with the cool Autumn weather finally here it was the perfect time. I have a feeling I will be making this a lot. I can’t thank you enough for sharing the recipe! It is FaNtAbUlOuS and perfect as written!

    • The Cozy Apron November 6, 2013, 5:03 pm

      Linda, that is music to my ears! I’m so happy that you enjoyed this stew so much, and I thank you for your comments!

      • Linda from NJ November 7, 2013, 5:39 am

        I’m looking forward to going thru the rest of your recipe box and seeing what other delicious treasures are calling to me to be made. :)

  • Ann November 17, 2013, 10:58 pm

    Made this last night for dinner – absolutely delicious!!! It will be perfect for the cold Swedish nights that are quickly approaching!

  • adrienne December 14, 2013, 11:08 am

    This was excellent! Thanks for the recipe. I am so glad that I found you and hope to try some of your other stews.

    • The Cozy Apron December 15, 2013, 5:51 pm

      Hi Adrienne, I’m so glad you found our site, too! Thanks so much for sharing your experience with the recipe, I really appreciate it. So glad you enjoyed!

  • Melissa January 2, 2014, 3:15 pm

    I have this simmering right now and it smells amazing!!! Can’t wait to dig in! We’re expecting a snow storm tonight here in NYC so this will keep us warm and cozy!
    Thanks!

    • The Cozy Apron January 2, 2014, 6:39 pm

      Hi Melissa, you make a scary NYC snowstorm sound cozy! :-) Please stay safe, and enjoy this comforting and hearty stew. So glad you stopped by to share with me! Stay warm…

  • Anya February 2, 2014, 1:08 pm

    Wow Ingrid! Eating some right now, and it’s fantastic! Thank you for all your wonderful recipes :)

    • The Cozy Apron February 9, 2014, 8:47 pm

      Hi Anya! That is wonderful—so glad you’re cooking, and that you’re enjoying some of these recipes! :-) Thank you so much for sharing with me.

  • Anita February 11, 2014, 10:49 am

    Made this just in time for a rainy evening in LA the other day and it was so delicious! Toddler approved as well so this recipe is definitely a keeper. Thank you!

    • The Cozy Apron February 11, 2014, 11:51 am

      Hi Anita! Yes—we finally had some rain here, right? (Sadly, not enough!) I was happy to read that you enjoyed this creamy stew, and that is was also “toddler approved”; isn’t that the best? :-) Thank you so much for taking a few moments to share your outcome with this recipe!

  • Jenn March 3, 2014, 5:17 pm

    I made this for my husband’s work crew—I make them all soup once a month for lunch. I added 2 c of chicken broth, and stretched it out to 8 servings, just under 2 cups each. For those who are doubling the amount of beans, it’s dead-on accurate as written for 6 servings! Gosh, it smelled so good! There wasn’t any left over for me, though, so I’ll have to give it another try one night and double it, and freeze the leftovers! Thanks for the yumminess!

    • The Cozy Apron March 3, 2014, 6:21 pm

      Hi there Jenn! I really appreciate your comment; not only because I found it incredibly touching that you prepare soup once a month for your husbands work crew, and chose my recipe as one you would share with them, but also for the fact that you verified the amount of beans as being necessary. I know that it sounds like an overkill, but in order to get that thick, creamy consistency, that quantity is needed, so thanks for sharing that! I really do hope that you’ll also be able to enjoy this stew yourself, soon—and with the cold weather, sooner may be better than later! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Robbie June 15, 2014, 7:32 pm

    Made this today and we absolutely loved it!! We grilled chicken breasts and added chunks of chicken to the soup. We also added few shakes of red pepper flakes for a little kick. This is a keeper recipe! I am new to your site and will now be checking out your other recipes. Thanks so much.

    • The Cozy Apron June 15, 2014, 8:48 pm

      Hi Robbie, so excited to read that! The chicken and the red pepper flakes sound absolutely delicious, and make the stew an even more hearty meal—perfect! And I’m so happy to have you as a newer visitor—hope you enjoy MORE recipes!

  • Linda June 17, 2014, 9:37 am

    Made this and it was FABULOUS!!! Outstanding and delicious. Looking thru your recipes I can’t wait to make other dishes you created. You are an amazing talented chef and I’m very thankful you share your recipes because I could never come up with these on my own.

    • The Cozy Apron June 17, 2014, 11:10 am

      Linda, how sweet are you!? :-) Thank you so much for your kind comments; I’m really glad that you enjoyed this stew! It’s my pleasure to share my recipes, and I truly do hope that you go on to find some more that inspire you to play in your kitchen. Happy cooking to you, and happy eating, as well!

  • Jo smith October 27, 2014, 9:21 pm

    Looking forward to trying your white bean stew

  • Dana Richards November 3, 2014, 9:55 am

    Dobry vecer a dobru chut! Recept vyzera super, was about to start cooking it for our dinner tonight when I noticed your Slovak origin! :-) I look forward to tasting it! Perfect for our rainy autumn day in London. S pozdravom Dana

    • The Cozy Apron November 3, 2014, 12:32 pm

      Oh my goodness, Dana—dobru chut! Dakujem for your fun words; so excited to have Slovak speaker leave a comment! Hope all is well in London; I have some Slovak family living there currently, too! Small world… Majte sa dobre!! :-) (My spelling’s not that stellar…)

      • Dana Richards November 3, 2014, 1:44 pm

        :-D Very true indeed! Especially with today’s social networks, the world is getting definitely smaller! I’m probably neighbours with your family in London lol!!
        Going back to your stew though….It was a total hit and made it’s way onto the list of our most favorite dishes! Hubby was seriously impressed! It will be cooked from now on very regular basis ( you see, here in London we get those grey skyes definitely more often than in LA! haha) I’ll be visiting my sister in Winnipeg soon, so I’ll be sure to make the stew over there too, and I’ll be off to Slovakia for Xmas so I might even impress everyone back home! ;-) Keep up the good work with your blog, I’m signing up right now!

  • Mandy November 13, 2014, 6:34 am

    Good morning!

    Do you think smoked sausage could be incorporated into the soup? My husband likes meat and I am worried the bacon bits won’t be enough! I will be trying this recipe tomorrow and I can’t wait to see how it turns out :)

    • The Cozy Apron November 13, 2014, 10:57 am

      HI Mandy, you certainly can! And here’s what I would do: dice up the sausage and brown it alongside the bacon (I wouldn’t even add any fat, as there should be plenty from the bacon and now the sausage), and just follow the recipe from there. Just cook it as if it were extra bacon, I’d say. I’m so excited you’re making this recipe tomorrow; I’m sure it will not disappoint! :-) (I’d love to find out how it goes!)

  • Linda Kaye November 19, 2014, 6:05 pm

    Ingrid, I found this recipe on Pinterest and made it tonight for our supper. Oh my soul! It is absolutely delicious and a perfect end to a long, cold day. Thank you for sharing! I will definitely be making this again!

    Linda Kaye

    • The Cozy Apron November 19, 2014, 7:31 pm

      Linda, that just warms my heart! I’m so glad you decided to give this a try, and that it’ll be a contender in the future for another cold day! Thanks so much for sharing.

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