1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil -- (1 to 2)
1 large onion -- coarsely chopped
2 medium carrots -- peeled and chopped
1 large garlic clove -- crushed
2 cups dried beans -- soaked & drained
8 cups boiling water -- (8 to 10)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 bay leaves
1/4 cup Italian parsley (plus more for garnish) -- chopped
salt -- to taste freshly ground black pepper -- to taste croutons for (optional) -- for garnish green olive oil (optional) -- for garnish
In heavy 3-quart stockpot or soup kettle heat extra-virgin olive oil; saute onion, carrots and garlic until vegetables are soft but not browned, 10-15 minutes. Add drained beans and boiling water to stockpot; add thyme, bay leaves and parsley. Cover and cook over low heat, adding boiling water occasionally if necessary, 1 1/2 - 3 hours or until beans are soft (cooking time varies with age of beans). When beans are soft add salt and pepper.
For thicker soup remove about 1 1/2 cups of beans, puree in food processor or blender, and return to pot. For thinner soup add hot water (or crushed canned tomatoes with juices). Correct seasonings. Transfer soup to tureen or individual bowls. Garnish with chopped parsley or croutons and drizzle with a good green olive oil. Makes 8 servings.
Notes: This recipe can be adapted to almost any kind of bean (cannellini, Great Northern, anasazi, _pinto_, pinquito, etc. are all possibilities). From an article on the Mediterranean diet in the March-April 1995 issue of Modern Maturity magazine. Uploaded to the CompuServe Cooks Library on 5/13/96 by Lon Hall.