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Friday, February 17, 2012

Bean, Bacon, and Parsley Soup - 50 Women Game-Changers (in Food): #35 Delia Smith

Bean, Bacon, and Parsley Soup
the "Gourmet" prompt...
35. Delia Smith- If you’re British, she’s a saint; if you’re not, you’ve probably never heard of her, but the cookbook author who looks like a nun and owns a Premier League soccer club has led generations of Brits to the kitchen, and will no doubt continue to do so for decades to come.

Born in 1941, she left school at the age of 16 and became a hair dresser...then a shop assistant...and shortly after worked in a travel agency. But having been complimented on her cooking by a boyfriend, she decided that cookery was the path she should take. She started work at a tiny restaurant called The Singing Chef (in Paddington) when she was 21 as a "washer-upper" (dishwasher?). She then became a waitress and eventually was allowed in the kitchen. She began reading English cookery books in the Reading Room of the British Museum and trying out recipes on the family she lived with. In 1969, she became the cookery writer for the Daily Mirror's new magazine where she met her husband Michael Wynn-Jones (he was the deputy editor of this mag). Throughout her lifetime, she wrote many other columns and cookbooks, plus she hosted cooking shows and demonstrations. I thought it pretty cool to mention that in 2009 she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Not that I have the slightest clue what that is...but it sounds impressive.

Bean, Bacon, and Parsley Soup
Aside from her 20-plus cookery books, she has also penned a number of religious books.  Color me impressed.  This lady's got some serious chops.  Though she's "retired", she still has a website, Delia online, where she can interact with fans, post recipes and tips, and share a schedule of any upcoming events she may have.  Check out this interview from BBC for more insight into Delia.

I've been in the mood for lima beans when I came across a recipe in one of Smith's books that combined them with bacon and onion (sigh...heaven-scent.  Yes, scent.)...I didn't turn another page.  I knew what I was making.  This soup has a surprising amount of flavor and is creamy, delicious, and chunky all at the same time.

Bean, Bacon, and Parsley Soup
This satisfying, yet light and creamy soup is laden with tender lima beans and infused with the flavor of bacon.
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Bean, Bacon, and Parsley Soup
by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: overnight
Cook Time: up to 2.5 hours
Keywords: simmer soup/stew beans bacon

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 1 cup dried lima beans, soaked overnight (or quick-soaked) and drained
  • 2 ounces bacon, chopped
  • olive oil, as needed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely copped
  • 6 scallions, sliced
  • 2 small celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • ~2/3 cup milk
  • kosher or sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Cook bacon until lightly crisp and golden. Scoop out of pan onto a paper towel-lined plate, leaving grease behind. Set bacon aside.

Combine beans, 1 quart of water, and the bay leaf in a pot. Bring to a boil, partially cover and then lower heat so that the water keeps a slow simmer. Cook until beans are tender, anywhere from 30 minutes - 2 hours, depending on your beans.

Meanwhile, heat butter and 3 tablespoons of rendered bacon (if you don't have that much, either add some that you've rendered and reserved previously, or add olive oil to make up the difference) fat in a Dutch oven. Add onion, scallion, and celery. Stir to coat and cook over low heat for ~10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute or so.

Add the cooked beans and their cooking liquid, discarding the bay leaf if you wish. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes more to allow flavors to combine.

Mash a few of the beans against the side of the pot. Stir in milk. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in parsley and reserved bacon and serve!

adapted from Soup by Delia Smith
Bean, Bacon, and Parsley Soup

In May '11, Gourmet posted a list of 50 Women Game-Changers (in Food) that runs the gamut from food writers to cookbook authors to television personalities to restauranteurs to chefs to food bloggers.  Some are a given.  Some are controversial.  Speaking the names of some brings fond childhood memories.  Speaking the names of others will make some readers cringe.  And of course, some of our favorites were not even included.  We food-lovers are a passionate bunch of people and whether we agree or disagree, every woman on this list has earned her place for a reason.  Being a woman who is passionate about food (cooking, eating, talking about, writing about, photographing), when I caught wind of Mary from One Perfect Bite's idea of cooking/blogging her way through each of these 50 per week...I knew I wanted to join her.  Many of these women paved the way for us in culinary school, in the kitchen, in cookbooks, in food writing, and on television and I think it is a fabulous way to pay tribute to their efforts.  Some of the women on the list have been tops with me for years.  Some I have heard of (perhaps even seen, read, or cooked from) before.  And there are even a handful that I am not familiar with at all.  I excited to educate myself on each of these women game-changers and hope you look forward to reading along.  We are going in order from 1 to 50.
Who is cooking along with these 50 Women Game-Changers?
*source: Wikipedia,