Cream of Bean and Vegetable Soup

Cream of Bean and Vegetable Soup

1 1/2 cups dry white pea beans
5 slices bacon – cut in 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/2 cups onion – chopped
3/4 cup celery – diced
6 cups liquid from beans plus water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
6 cups milk
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
3/4 cup grated carrots or other vegetable

Soak beans. For each cup of beans add 2 1/2 cups (625 ml-750 ml) of water. Let stand 12 hours or overnight. Or, for quick soak, slowly bring to a boil and boil gently for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 1 hour. Drain beans, reserving liquid.

Fry bacon until crisp. Remove from pan and drain. Sauté onion and celery in bacon fat until onion is transparent. Add bean liquid, beans and seasonings. Cover and cook until beans are tender and water is almost absorbed (about 2 hours). Add milk, parsley and carrot. Bring to boil. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon. Use diced cooked vegetables for a different variation.