Tuscan Bean Stew

Yay!  Recipe one from my list of New Year’s Resolution recipes – check.

Delicious, warming, comfort food – check.

First dinner of the New Year cooked – check.

If they all are as easy as this dish, I am going to fly through these for sure.

The Recipe:

Tuscan Bean Stew, adapted from A Dash of Sugar and Spice

1 T extra virgin olive oil

6 slices bacon, cut into ¼-inch pieces

1 large onion, chopped

4 medium celery ribs, cut into ½-inch pieces

2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces

8 medium garlic cloves, minced

3 c turkey broth

2 c water

4 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed well

2 bay leaves

1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained

1 sprig fresh rosemary

Heat oil and bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until bacon is lightly browned and fat has rendered, 8 to 10 minutes.  Add onion, celery, and carrots; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and lightly browned, 10 to 16 minutes.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Stir in broth, water, beans, bay leaves, and tomatoes.  Increase heat to high and bring to simmer; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.   Add rosemary and simmer another 10 to 15 minutes, or until vegetables are fully tender.

Discard bay leaves and rosemary sprig; season with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, use back of spoon to press some beans against side of pot to thicken stew.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

What originally drew me to this recipe was the beautiful colors involved (well, and the fact that it had veggies in it that I actually liked).

I had planned on getting kale to go in it, but our small local grocery store (we live in a little town) did not have any when I went grocery shopping.

The other big change I made was I substituted turkey broth for the chicken broth – we just happened to have some homemade leftover from the holidays.

I really don’t think you’d notice any difference, though, between the two broths.  (Though you might between homemade and store-bought.)

I adored the smells that came from cooking this.  Between the bacon, onion, garlic, and herbs, my house smelled divine.  Hubs even commented on it when he walked in the door.

I wish I’d had better light to do the colors in this dish some justice.  But it was pretty – even without the kale.

The stew was tasty, filling, and perfect for a gray day (in other words, pretty much any winter day around here).  Next time I will be sure to use good bacon – and Hubs suggested removing it from the dutch oven after it’d crisped up and then adding it back in at the end in order to keep a little extra texture and taste.

I already feel this year is off to a great culinary start.

Crossing my fingers it stays that way.

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16 thoughts on “Tuscan Bean Stew

  1. I made a very similar stew recently but added chunks of good Italian sausage (with fennel) in addition to the bacon. The reason you were probably better off leaving the bacon in, is that the bacon actually flavors the soup as it all cooks and steeps together, like tea. If you want something crunchy, I would cook extra bacon and crumble it in at the end for garnish or add sausage for something meatier that he can sink his teeth into. 😉

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  2. Mmmmmm. Delicious! How did the kids take to this one? I’m not sure I could get mine to eat it. They do like traditional chili though (covered in cheese of course!). 😉

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