Friday, December 31, 1999

Spicy Seven-Bean Soup

Ingredients
•  1/4 cup each of dried: baby limas, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, kidney beans, small white or navy beans, pinto beans and red beans
•  1/4 cup olive oil
•  2 cloves garlic
•  1 red bell pepper
•  1 yellow onion, finely chopped
•  1 carrot, finely chopped
•  1 celery stalk, finely chopped
•  1 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
•  4 cups vegetable stock
•  1 can crushed tomatoes
•  1 T. sugar
•  1 T. dried basil
•  1 T. dried oregano
•  1 T. balsamic or red wine vinegar
•   1/2 T. dried thyme
•   2 bay leaves
•   Salt and pepper
•  1/2 cup fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped

How to make the soup:
Sort through the beans, discarding the discolored ones. Put beans in a bowl, add cold water to cover and soak in the refrigerator overnight.

In a large pot, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, bell pepper, onion, celery, carrot and pepper flakes. Saute until the onion is translucent, 2-3 minutes. Drain the beans and stir them into the pot along with stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, basil, oregano, vinegar, thyme, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover partially and simmer until the beans are tender about 2-2 1/2 hours.

Just before serving, discard the bay leaves. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in parsley or cilantro. Ladle into bowls. Serves 6-8 and freezes well.

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