2 cups dried Great Northern beans, rinsed
8 slices bacon
1-1/2 carrots, chopped
1-1/3 stalks celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1-1/4 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1-1/2 cans chicken broth
1-1/3 cups milk (not skim)

Place beans in a large bowl and soak in warm water overnight.

The next morning, in a large skillet over medium heat, fry the bacon until crisp, but do not burn. Drain bacon fat and crumble bacon; set aside.

In a crockpot, combine carrot, celery, onion, potato, Italian seasoning, ground black pepper, beans and crumbled bacon. Pour in broth. Cover and cook on low setting for 7-1/2 to 9 hours or until beans are tender. Transfer 2 cups at a time to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Return to crockpot. Add milk and heat on high for 15 minutes. Serve.

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