The Campbell’s Bean with Bacon Soup Experiment

19 Feb
Campbell's Bean with Bacon Soup Experiment

Campbell’s Bean with Bacon Soup Experiment

Hey wait a minute! Don’t click away just yet! I know the word Campbell’s and Experiment in the same line might lead you to run away in culinary terror, but this was a mission. A mission to replicate this red and white childhood favorite can of good ole’ American soup without all the nasties in it. Well, as many as I possibly could without compromising the original goal. I kind of crack myself up, as the tomato soup’s goal last week was to NOT taste like the canned version. No wonder my husband never understands me.

If you look up recipes for “copycat” Campbell’s bean with bacon soup, you will find in the recipe comments that many readers say it didn’t taste anything like the soup in the can. Then if you look at the ingredients they used, then the ingredients on the can, it’s no wonder.

Campbell's Bean with Bacon Soup Ingredients

Campbell’s Bean with Bacon Soup Ingredients

I printed out the ingredients label and studied it to come up with a reasonable facsimile. Besides water, pea beans is the first ingredient. According to Wikipidia: “in the USA the name ‘pea bean’ is also used to describe small white common beans.” Well the beans from my local bulk food store section seemed to fit this perfectly, as the name on the bin was “small white beans.”

Tomato puree was a no-brainer, I used tomato paste and water. Bacon and carrots? Yep, I can do that. I skipped over all the unknown and nasty stuff, and then saw dehydrated onions. I had a whole spice jar of those! Most other recipes used fresh onion, in addition to celery and garlic. As much as I wanted to use all of those, I had to stick to my guns on this one.

Another thing unique to the canned variety is that the carrots and bacon are just wee bits in the soup, not huge chunks.

campbellscondensed-bean-with-bacon1

With that in mind, I pulsed both the carrots

Minced Carrots

Minced Carrots

and bacon into minced bits in my Ninja processor before cooking together. I didn’t bother rinsing the Ninja before adding the bacon.

Minced Bacon

Minced Bacon

Sugar is also mentioned twice, so decided to some add brown sugar too, but not too much.

My last dilemma was yeast extract (Marmite anyone?) and natural smoke flavoring. A bit of googling told me that soy sauce has the same umami and flavor profile as yeast extract. My bottle of liquid smoke wasn’t as “natural” in ingredients as I would have desired, but it was Stubb’s so I gave myself a pass on that. I left those out until all the other ingredients had a chance to meld in the slow cooker all day, then would do a taste test. Plus bacon has a smoky flavor, and I used ham stock instead of water, which also has a smoky flavoring. Time would tell.

The Results? Drum roll please…

Close β€” VERY close! The texture was not quite right as I should have removed some beans before pureeing the soup, but I was so excited to use my new immersion blender that I totally bypassed that step.

But when you crunchle in a bunch of saltine crackers, the texture doesn’t matter much at that point because the soup is Mmm, Mmm, Good!

Campbell’s Bean with Bacon Soup Experiment

1 pound small dried white beans, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
1 cup finely minced carrots
6 slices bacon, finely minced
2 tablespoons dehydrated minced onion
3 tablespoons tomato paste plus one cup water
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
4 cups homemade ham stock, or water
Low-sodium soy sauce, to taste
Stubb’s liquid smoke (or other brand), to taste

Cook the minced carrots and bacon together in a skillet over medium heat until the bacon starts to crisp, about 15 minutes. It kind of freaked me out because the bacon fat never really released, did the carrots soak it up? At this point add the minced onion then cook for a few more minutes, stirring.

Dehydrated Onion Added to Mixture

Dehydrated Onion Added to Mixture

Once the onions look fairly hydrated, add the tomato paste and water, plus the brown sugar and stir to combine.

Tomato Paste Added

Tomato Paste Added

Pour the mixture (which vaguely resembles baby food) into a large slow cooker, then add the ham stock or water, and beans. Stir to combine then cover and cook on low 8 to 10 hours, or high on 4 to 6 hours until the beans are tender. Add additional water as needed. At this point the bacon grease did release, which I removed from the top. It was only about 2 tablespoons.

Soup Before Pureeing

Soup Before Pureeing

Using an immersion blender, puree about half the soup. You can also do this in batches in a blender.Β  For a really smooth consistency for the base, remove some of the beans before pureeing, then add them back in.

At this point I did a taste test. It still needed some smoky flavoring, so alternated a few dashes at a time between soy sauce and liquid smoke. I stirred and tasted, ate a saltine cracker in between, until I found the right balance. Use caution with liquid smoke, as it is very strong. I might have added one drop too much.

Serve hot in bowls, with lots of saltine crackers on the side. I assembled a quick Caesar salad on the side since this was our dinner. If anyone makes this, please let me know what you think. Did this even come close to your expectations?

Campbell's Bean with Bacon Soup Experiment

Campbell’s Bean with Bacon Soup Experiment

 

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

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72 Responses to “The Campbell’s Bean with Bacon Soup Experiment”

  1. Adam J. Holland February 19, 2017 at 10:17 am #

    This is good to know. I’ve been experimenting with the Bean w/ Bacon Soup recipe for years. Yes, I too own that same guilty pleasure. Thank you for your research and your experiment. It helps me more than you know.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. koolaidmoms February 19, 2017 at 10:35 am #

    Yummy! I love that you remade a childhood favorite with good stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Simply Splendid Food February 19, 2017 at 10:46 am #

    Very creative!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. fromthefamilytable February 19, 2017 at 10:51 am #

    My surprise was to learn that there are so many devotees of bean with bacon soup. My favorite as a child was chicken alphabet soup. It always got cold as I tried to spell things. Your image of the final result was excellent. Keep on experimenting.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Cheryl "Cheffie Cooks" Wiser February 19, 2017 at 10:57 am #

    Lol KR-you do definitely crack me up! Hope you had fun with this one! xoxoxo ccc

    Liked by 2 people

  6. D. Wallace Peach February 19, 2017 at 11:05 am #

    You’re right that the title of this post is cringe-worthy! But knowing you, I laughed and read on. Great job recreating the canned soup without all the nasty chemicals and unintelligible ingredients. Perfect for this rainy gray day! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Bernadette February 19, 2017 at 11:42 am #

    You deserve a drum roll and πŸ‘ for a job well doneπŸ‘πŸ»

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Cathy Fouche February 19, 2017 at 11:50 am #

    My eyes just bugged out of my head when I saw this because I LOVE Campbell’s Bean with Bacon soup but have been trying to eat cleaner on a very limited budget and hadn’t a clue how to get homemade to taste similar. I only have a 3 qt slow cooker so will need to figure out ratios, and I don’t actually know how to use liquid smoke so have never bough any, but I definitely want to try this! Thank you Kathryn!

    Liked by 1 person

    • anotherfoodieblogger February 19, 2017 at 1:36 pm #

      You are so very welcome Cathy! I think the three quart would fit this but it would be pretty full. You could just halve the recipe! Liquid smoke is found in the BBQ sauce section. πŸ™‚

      Like

  9. apuginthekitchen February 19, 2017 at 11:52 am #

    You know I totally forgot that soup exists and it’s one I used to love as a child. Your copy cat recipe sounds and looks great. Do you think navy beans would work? They are small white beans. Love it Kathryn!!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Tasty Eats Ronit Penso February 19, 2017 at 12:34 pm #

    I really enjoyed reading about your experiment! The soup looks very tasty! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Teagan Geneviene February 19, 2017 at 2:43 pm #

    Kathryn, your intro for this cracked me up. That would have been enough, but you just kept the humor going. Then to top it off, the soup sounds delicious! Terrific post. Tasty soup. Mega hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Gerlinde/Sunnycovechef February 19, 2017 at 5:36 pm #

    This is too much Kathryn, what a great idea. You deserve more than a drum roll, how about a star on your forehead. I love it.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. recipeboxgal February 19, 2017 at 6:04 pm #

    I’m quite fond of the Campbell’s Bean & Bacon soup. Good to know a better alternative is out there! Thanks for the recipe.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Jodi February 19, 2017 at 6:42 pm #

    Can you believe I’ve never heard of Campbell’s Bean and Bacon Soup? I thought I knew all of the Campbell’s soup varieties…. Is it still sold? I must look for.. LOL! I love how this one is supposed to taste like the canned version, but the tomato soup was not to – I can just see your hubby’s quizzical face. I, on the other hand, TOTALLY get it! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • anotherfoodieblogger February 20, 2017 at 8:04 am #

      LOL thanks so much Jodi, and yes, it is still made and sold!! My husband by the way has never had it before either, (he’s from Vermont) so maybe it’s a Southern thing πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jodi February 20, 2017 at 8:55 am #

        have to remember to look for it! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • hemispherebooks August 28, 2017 at 3:36 am #

        Definitely not a Southern thing. I’m from the Great Lakes area and I’ve loved Campbell’s bean with bacon soup since I was a kid. With crackers, over bread (which may be just a family preference). Either way, it’s great! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • anotherfoodieblogger August 28, 2017 at 8:39 am #

        Then I guess it is All-American, right? Thanks for stopping by! πŸ™‚

        Like

  15. Michelle Williams February 19, 2017 at 11:55 pm #

    Though the texture may be off I bet yours tastes much better!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. cookingwithauntjuju.com February 20, 2017 at 4:33 am #

    I never had this soup Kathryn, but I am sure your homemade version is much better. I only eat Campbell’s tomato soup (when I don’t make my own) and the others – no thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Conor Bofin February 20, 2017 at 6:12 am #

    What you tried to recreate is not worth the effort. But what you have achieved certainly is. Well done my dear.
    Best,
    C

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Karina Pinella February 20, 2017 at 6:35 am #

    Looks really good!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Linda February 20, 2017 at 6:40 am #

    Great job Kathryn! I’ve never had the Campbell’s version but would certainly eat your soup…Looks delish!! XOXO

    Liked by 1 person

  20. lulu February 20, 2017 at 8:36 am #

    You can’t beat the combination of beans and bacon and what you have made is likely lots better than what was in the can.

    Liked by 1 person

    • anotherfoodieblogger February 20, 2017 at 8:40 am #

      Thank you again Lulu, I do think it was better than the canned version, both health-wise and taste-wise!

      Like

  21. Elaine @ foodbod February 20, 2017 at 10:10 am #

    I do that – read ingredients on shop products and create my own versions, I like being able to control the flavour as well as the experimenting!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Cooking For The Time Challenged February 20, 2017 at 10:46 am #

    I also wanted to tell you that I tagged you for the 2016/2017 tag! I hope you will answer the tag’s questions. I am hoping that this short link worked! http://wp.me/p3GhIj-135.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. StefanGourmet February 20, 2017 at 11:53 pm #

    I don’t know the original, but this doesn’t seem bad at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. cheri February 21, 2017 at 8:51 am #

    Your soup looks delicious, love that it is homemade. Bean and bacon sounds like a delicious combo. I enjoy re-creating store bought things that I like, working on lowering my salt intake.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Lynz Real Cooking February 21, 2017 at 10:04 am #

    Awesome experiment! Love it mmmmm

    Liked by 1 person

  26. FrugalHausfrau February 22, 2017 at 7:19 am #

    Wonderful!! I love how you puzzled this out. My Dad would absolutely LOVE this soup! He used to like to put a dollop of ketchup on top and stir it in.

    Liked by 1 person

    • anotherfoodieblogger February 22, 2017 at 1:09 pm #

      No comment, lol! Just saltines for me! πŸ˜€

      Like

      • FrugalHausfrau February 22, 2017 at 3:15 pm #

        Yep, no ketchup for me!! Only with grilled cheese.

        Liked by 1 person

      • anotherfoodieblogger February 22, 2017 at 4:12 pm #

        Grilled cheese with tomato soup, only crackers with Bean w/Bacon for me! πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

      • FrugalHausfrau February 22, 2017 at 6:50 pm #

        lol!! I’m an only saltines with soup, too. Unless it’s tomato. Then it’s tomato and grilled cheese. With ketchup. I don’t know where I got grilled cheese and ketchup from, but I HATE ketchup with anything else Weird. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  27. eliotthecat February 25, 2017 at 6:39 am #

    Those of us “of a certain age” remember when those red and white cans were the basis of everything from casseroles to sauces…. πŸ™‚ I don’t ever remember having this soup out of the can but would love to try your rendition!

    Liked by 1 person

    • anotherfoodieblogger February 25, 2017 at 9:18 am #

      Thank you Elliott, and I am one of those “of a certain again” that’s for sure. (Plus a house with six kids, the red and white cans were definitely a staple!)

      Like

  28. Sandy KS February 25, 2017 at 1:43 pm #

    That is wonderful you remaking a childhood favorite to be a bit healthier homemade. I love it.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. paintdigi February 25, 2017 at 2:51 pm #

    Good posts, beautiful blog.
    Congratulations.
    Welcome to see my creations:
    paintdigi.com

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Sheryl February 25, 2017 at 7:21 pm #

    It’s fun to read about your bean with bacon soup experiment, and it’s good to hear that it was a success.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Fourth Generation Farmgirl March 9, 2017 at 9:53 am #

    That’s fantastic that you got so close to the original flavor! Perseverance pays off. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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