White Bean Soup with Pancetta and Swiss Chard

We borrowed this recipe from world renowned chef (and one-time Hoosier!) Wolfgang Puck. He expounds on the virtues of beans and even goes so far as to say “…my favorite soup ingredient is probably dried beans.” We couldn’t ask for a much better endorsement than that! Try out his recipe using our HamBeens® Great Northern Beans with Ham Flavor.

Prep Time

30 minutes

Cook Time

2 hours



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  • 1 package Hurst’s® Great Northern HamBeens®

  • 3/4 pound unsliced pancetta (If necessary, can substitute cured bacon)

  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, tied together with kitchen string

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 celery stalks, cut into small dice

  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, cut into small dice

  • 1 medium-sized leek, trimmed, split lengthwise, thoroughly washed, and cut into small dice

  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

  • 1 cup dry white wine

  • 3 ounces white wine vinegar

  • 6 cups organic chicken broth

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

  • 3/4 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

  • Salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 pound Swiss chard leaves, cut crosswise into strips 1/2 inch wide

  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cooking Directions

  1. Rinse and sort through the dry beans, checking for any stones or unwanted debris and discard. Pour the beans into a large bowl and cover with at least 2” of water. Allow the beans to soak overnight or at least 6 hours. After soaking, drain and discard the water.

  2. Place the beans, thyme sprigs, and 1/2 the pancetta into a large soup pot and cover with at least 2” of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the beans are tender, about 1.5 hours.

  3. In a separate pot, add in the olive oil and the remaining pancetta (diced). Saute over medium heat until it browns and begins to crisp. Then add the onion, leeks, celery, and garlic to the pot and cook until the onions become translucent (3-5 minutes). Raise heat to medium-high, add wine and vinegar, and boil until liquid has reduced by half, about 10 minutes more.

  4. Once the beans are cooked through, save a 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Discard the rest. Place 1/2 of the beans in a food processor or blender and puree to a smooth consistency. Use the remaining cooking liquid to help loosen the mixture while blending.

  5. Add the whole and pureed beans to the vegetable mixture along with broth, parsley, and thyme leaves. Stir well. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally until the whole beans are tender and soup is thick, about 15 minutes longer. Season to taste.

  6. A few minutes before serving, stir in the strips of Swiss chard. Continue cooking just until they have wilted, 2 to 3 minutes.

  7. Ladle the soup into large bowls and top with a small handful of the freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!