By Karin Calloway

Karin Calloway is a working mom living in Augusta, Ga., with multiple freelance jobs and a ton of dirty dishes.

Bean, Bacon and Chicken Soup

White Chili is often served during our family tree trimming festivities each December. You can find the recipe on this site, or you can try the soup we’ll be simmering up this holiday season - Bean, Bacon and Chicken Soup.

The recipe is similar to my White Chili, but it’s a bit heartier. The recipe begins by sautéing some diced thick-sliced bacon in a Dutch oven. The bacon is removed, and some of the fat is left in the pan to sauté some diced onion, grated carrot and garlic.

Once the vegetables are tender, canned white beans, reduced-sodium chicken broth and a bay leaf are added and the soup is simmered for 30 minutes. While the soup simmers, I poach boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, which I add to the soup just before serving. Leftover roasted chicken or holiday turkey can be substituted.

The soup can be left chunky, or the beans can be mashed slightly with a potato masher or immersion blender. The reserved bacon and poached chicken are added and heated through before serving.

I like to serve the soup with garlic-cheese biscuits. You can find prepared garlic-cheese biscuits in your supermarket’s freezer section and bake them up at home while the soup simmers. Add a big tossed salad, and garnish your soup with some diced green onion and tomato.

  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 32 ounces (4 cups) reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 2 15-ounce cans white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves*
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 small tomato, diced

Sauté bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon. Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings. Heat over medium-high. Add the onion, carrot and garlic and sauté until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the bay leaf, chicken broth and white beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.

 While the soup simmers, bring the water and wine to a simmer in a skillet. Add the chicken breast halves and poach until cooked through, turning once, about 15 minutes. Remove from liquid and cool. Slice into strips and set aside.

Mash beans slightly using a potato masher or immersion blender, if desired. Add diced bacon and chicken strips to the soup and heat through. Serve in bowls, garnished with chopped green onions and diced tomatoes, if desired.

Makes 8 servings.