adapted from Vegetarian cookbook by Linda Fraser
· 1 ½ cups dried cannellini or other white beans
· 1 bay leaf
· 3 Tablespoons olive oil
· 1 medium onion, finely chopped
· 1 carrot, finely chopped
· 1 celery rib, finely chopped
· 3 medium tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
· 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
· 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
· 3 cups boiling water
· Salt and freshly ground black pepper
· Olive oil, to serve
1. Pick over the beans carefully, discarding any stones or other particles. Rinse thoroughly in cold water to ensure that they are clean. Soak in a large bowl of cold water overnight. Drain the beans and place them in a large saucepan of water, bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes. Drain. Return the beans to the pan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil again. Add the bay leaf and simmer for 1-2 hours or until the beans are tender. Drain again. Remove the bay leaf.
2. Puree about three-quarters of the beans in a food processor or blender, adding a little water if necessary, to create a smooth paste.
3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Stir in the onion and cook until it softens. Add the carrot and celery, and cook for 5 minutes more.
4. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic and thyme. Cook 6-8 minutes more, stirring often.
5. Pour in the boiling water. Stir in the beans and the bean puree. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Serve in individual soup bowls, sprinkled with a little olive oil.
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White Bean Soup