The perfect Dutch soup for chilly weekends

I started making this soup over a decade ago, when we were living in Virginia. I made it every fall during planting season along with Jeroen's homemade bread. We would serve it right on the tulip field to the folks helping us plant. Back then we were doing all our planting by hand -- luckily it was only about 50-70,000 bulbs then, versus the more than 1 million we're planting this year in Exeter, Johnston and Preston.


Briune Bonen Soep or Brown Bean Soup doesn't sound that tasty and there are few Dutchies that remember enjoying it growing up but with a few tweaks to the recipe I have converted the most skeptical of Hollanders who, upon eating it, exclaim that they have never had Bruine Bonen Soep taste so delicious or Lekker, as they say in Dutch. 

So the key is simple, do not to use brown beans, which is pretty easy since we don't really have them here. Swap them out for pinto, add bacon and walaaah! The Dutch version of bacon is very different than ours,  it's called Speck and is  more like the Italian cubed version of Pancetta. 

Serve this up with some warm crusty bread and lots of butter, sit back all cozy and snug and daydream about warmer days and fields of tulips to come. 

I adapted this recipe from the Spruce Eats and you can easily make this vegetarian/vegan. See notes below. 

Serves 4     

25 minutes give or take


  • 5 oz bacon
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 large carrot,diced
  • 1 large leek, sliced into rings
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 3lbs pinto beans, drained & rinsed 
  • 12 oz tomato puree
  • 3 cups beef stock or better yet beef bone broth
  • 5 shallots
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Worchester Sauce to taste (start with one or two tbs) or if you can find it in a specialty shop Ketjap Manis
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley. The traditional recipe calls for celery leaves but parsley is so much tastier. 


  1. Fry bacon in butter till crispy in a large soup pot or if you have it a Dutch Oven! 
  2. Remove bacon and set aside for garnish- if you leave it in it will get soggy.
  3. Add shallots, carrot, leek, and paprika. Mix well.
  4. Add beans, tomato puree, beef stock and bay leaves.
  5. Bring soup to a boil then simmer 15 minutes..
  6. Remove bay leaves.
  7. Season to taste with salt,pepper and Worcester Sauce.
  8. Remove soup from heat  and blitz  half smooth with a hand blender. You don't want it completely smooth- a little chunky is best. 
  9. Serve hot with fresh parsley, chopped bacon and a crusty bread. 

****You can make this vegetarian or vegan by omitting the bacon/butter,replacing it  with an oil of your choice (preferably one with a high smoke point), beef stock for veggie and there are vegan Worcester Sauces that don't contain fish sauce. Smoked paprika can give it a little more oomph. 

I hope you enjoy it! I'd love to hear what you think and how it came out for you. 


picture courtesy of

October 10, 2022


Jean Herzog said:

It was great! Wonderful on a cool fall day. Minor notes – Used smoked bittersweet paprika, cooked the shallots/carrot/leek/paprika mix on low for 10 min in pan after bacon before adding to soup mixture, simmered soup until carrot pieces were al dente, served with streak of sour cream on top with bacon and parsley. Thanks for linking in the email newsletter!

Kathy Abrams said:

Hi! This soup is just what we all need after a day of raking leaves. One question: can canned pinto beans be used?

Lisa said:

Thanks for sharing 😀

Lois J Carnevalla said:

I saw this recipe yesterday and I just happened to have all the ingredients (including beef bone broth!). It was delicious. Thank you very much for posting it on your blog.

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