Green Bean Soup with Pear and Bacon

Pears, beans and bacon are a traditional German combination. This relationship might also originate from the simple fact, that the seasons of pears and beans overlap. Some additional fat or salty bacon only further improves a dish, so it can’t be a mistake to include it. Traditionally, the combination of these three ingredients is cooked layered in a single pot, but there are countless other ways to prepare and serve them too. In this recipe I combined the beans, pears and bacon in a simple and light soup. Although the soup can be cooked even simpler, I included some further steps to preserve the color and optimize the texture for a perfect green bean soup.

Bacon and Pear Cubes with Blanched Green Beans

For keeping the soup from turning brown there are two main aspects to which attention should be paid to.  The first is to watch the beans cooking and drain them right away when they turn soft. For stopping the cooking process prepare a bowl with ice water, where you can immediately submerge the cooked green beans after draining them. The second important aspect is pureeing the soup chilled. I like to add some summer savory to the water I cook the beans in, because it boosts the bean flavor. After draining the cooked beans I reserve the cooking liquid and chill it. If I would blend the beans with hot stock, they would get brown pretty fast, so working with chilled beans and chilled cooking liquid keeps the green color and gives me plenty of time. Time, for example, for pressing the pureed soup through a fine sieve. This step is very important for green beans, because they usually have lengthy strings which cause a hairy and unpleasant mouth-feel.

Green Bean Soup with Pear and Bacon

The soup is reheated when needed, so it’s not only a colorful recipe, but also one that can be prepared well ahead. I added the butter and créme fraiche during the reheating and mixed it with a hand-held blender. This way the soup got more foamy, which resulted in a lighter consistency. As something to chew on, I reserved some nice straight pieces of cooked green beans (or you can blanch them separately, see recipe below). The bacon was very slowly cooked and the small pear cubes were only tossed shortly in the rendered bacon fat. The final result allows you or your guests to mix the three main ingredients according to your taste and also to experiment with different proportions, which keeps the soup interesting until the last spoonful.

Green Bean Soup with Pear and Bacon

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 2 portions

Green Bean Soup with Pear and Bacon

Ingredients

  • 300 g green beans
  • 6-8 stalks summer savory
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 50 ml dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp créme fraiche
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 50 g bacon
  • 1/2 pear
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt

Instructions

For the soup
Wash the green beans and set aside 3-4 straight ones for garnish. Coarsely chop the remainder.
Bring 400 ml water to a boil, add the summer savory, 1 garlic clove and 2 pinches of salt. Let simmer covered for 10 minutes, then add the chopped beans. Cook without a lid until the beans are soft, but still bright green. Drain the cooking liquid, reserve and chill to room temperature. Immediately submerge the green beans to ice water to preserve their bright color. Pick off the leaves from the savory and discard the stems. Blend the green beans with the cooked garlic clove and savory leaves to a fine puree. While blending, add the white wine and as much cooking liquid that the result is slightly more fluid than a cream soup. Strain through a fine sieve. Refrigerate if you plan to serve the soup later.
When serving, warm the soup and using a handheld blender add 1 tbsp butter and créme fraiche. This helps to get a more foamy and lighter result. Season with salt and pepper.
For the garnish
Finely chop the bacon in small cubes and render their fat at low temperature in a small pan. When they are crispy, remove them from the fat and set aside. Reserve the fat.
Wash 3-4 straight green beans and cut into 4cm parts. Blanch them in boiling hot salted water for 2 minutes, immediately submerge in ice water and drain on paper towels.
Peel the pear, discard the seeds and finely dice the flesh. Mix with the bacon and heat in the reserved fat along with the blanched green beans.
To serve
Place 2 tbsp pear and bacon on warm plates and add 3 green beans. Ladle the soup in front of your guests on the garnish and serve with a glass of white wine.
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