Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Mixed-Bean Minestrone Stew

This delicious soup/stew is from The Healthy Kitchen by Andrew Weil & Rosie Dailey. Rosie shot to fame being Oprah's cook some time ago and in my never humble opinion, she isn't a particularly gifted chef. However, she does have a few good recipes in this book that have become staples in our home and this soup/stew is one of them.

2 cups mixed dry beans (I usually use a combination of garbanzo, kidney and white beans but I have also made the soup using just one kind of bean. 2 cups dry beans yeilds about 5 or so cups of cooked so remember that if you are substituting canned.)

1 cup chopped onion
3-4 carrots, peeled or not, sliced
1 cup chopped celery
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1/8 tsp. chili flakes
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon salt ( I don't add this, but you sure can)
1 cup peeled and cubed eggplant (the recipe says you can use cabbage, squash or broccoli but I have not done this. The eggplant really adds a nice flavor)
4 cups chopped fresh tomatoes or a 28-35 oz can of chopped tomatoes with their juice
1 large baking potato, cubed
6 cups water or stock (I use low sodium vegetable stock)
1 cup chopped fresh green beans (or frozen peas or frozen green beans)
1 1/2 cup uncooked small pasta

Cook the beans. (If I have time, I soak them for at least four hours or overnight, drain & rinse them and simmer them in water or stock until tender. If I haven't planned ahead enough, I rinse them, put them in a pot with enough water to cover and bring them to a boil for 2 minutes. Then, you let them sit in the pot for an hour. Drain, rinse and cook as if you soaked them longer. If I haven't planned ahead at all, I used rinsed canned beans, preferably with no salt added.)

In a large soup pot, sweat the onions, carrots, celery and garlic in the olive oil on low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the Italian seasoning, chili flakes, rosemary and salt along with the eggplant (or whatever vegetable you are using), tomatoes, potatoes and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for another 20 minutes. Add cooked beans, green beans or peas, and pasta and cook on medium heat for another 15 minutes.

Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and crusty bread. YUM.

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