This thick and savory soup, which is reminiscent of cowboy campfire cooking, is a delicious cross between baked beans and tomato soup. The crunchy, sweet corn muffin croutons make it even more rustic.
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6 ounces thickly sliced bacon, cut into 1-inch strips
Preheat the oven to 400°. In a medium saucepan, cook the bacon strips over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until they are browned and crisp, about 7 minutes. Transfer the crispy bacon to a plate and pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the saucepan.
Add the onion and garlic to the fat in the saucepan and cook, stirring, until they are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and maple syrup and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until thick, about 3 minutes. Add the pink beans and their liquid and cook until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bacon strips, season lightly with salt and cayenne pepper and simmer the soup over moderate heat until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, spread the corn muffin cubes on a small baking sheet and bake for 7 to 8 minutes, until they are golden and crisp. Let the corn muffin croutons cool slightly.
Ladle the soup into deep bowls, garnish with the corn muffin croutons and chopped scallions and serve.
Spicy red blend.
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