One of my favorite soups growing up was Campbell’s Bean with Bacon soup. So naturally when I began learning how to cook more things for myself, relying less on prepared food, this is one thing I wanted to replicate. It took a couple times to get it right but I believe this to be at least as good if not better (definitely not as salty).
1 bag (1 lb) of great northern beans
6 slices of uncooked center cut bacon (cut into small pieces)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cloves of garlic or 2 teaspoons of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of onion powder
4 oz tomato paste
3 drops of liquid smoke
3-4 quarts of filtered water
First you will need to soak the beans overnight. Fill a container that will still be half full after you empty the entire bag of beans. Then fill the entire container with cold water. The beans will expand so you need to be sure they stay underwater or when you cook them they won’t be all done at the same time.
After your beans have soaked, drain the water and set them aside. Fill a pot (I used a 5-quart dutch oven) with about 3-4 quarts of water. I prefer to use filtered water as the better the water the better the soup. Place all the ingredients except the liquid smoke (add that at the end) into the pot, stir to combine, and bring to a boil. Once you have a boil, cover the pot and simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
To finish off the soup add about 3-4 drops of liquid smoke (a little goes a long way). You can now add additional salt or let each person add it themselves to their taste. You can freeze leftovers in quart sized plastic zip top bags and just re-heat in the microwave.