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This warming soup takes inspiration from the Spanish dish caldo gallego, and combines the heartiness of white beans and crispy bacon with a light, herb-infused broth. To keep things vegetarian, you can swap the bacon fat for olive oil or butter and top the soup with another crunchy garnish of your liking, like croutons. The longest part of the process is allowing the soup to simmer and all the flavors to meld, but your patience will pay off. Plus:  More Terrific Soup Recipes & Tips 

November 2008


Credit: © Petrina Tinslay

Recipe Summary

30 mins
2 hrs


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • In a large soup pot, cook the bacon over moderate heat, stirring, until browned and crisp, about 7 minutes. Drain, reserving the fat and bacon separately.

  • Heat the olive oil in the soup pot. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf and 1 teaspoon each of the chopped thyme and rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the drained beans, stock and 3 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat and bring to a boil. Simmer the soup over moderately low heat until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

  • Discard the bay leaf and stir in the remaining thyme and rosemary. Season the soup with salt and pepper and transfer to shallow bowls. Garnish the soup with the bacon and serve.

Make Ahead

The soup and bacon can be refrigerated separately for up to 3 days. Recrisp the bacon before serving.

Suggested Pairing

Bright, citrusy Albariño.