Minestrone Soup

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Ingredients for 10-12 servings:

6 oz haricot beans (soaked overningth)
4 pints vegetable stock
4 oz streaky bacon
2 tbs olive oil
12 oz oinions
4 sticks celery
12 oz carrots diced
12 oz leeks
2 large garlic cloves
Small tin tomato puree
Bouquet garni of parsley stalks, sprig of thyme and a bayleaf
1/4 head cabbage
Salt & Pepper
Little pasta (optional)

Simmer the drained and rinsed beans in half the stock until almost tender.  Meanwhile, put the bacon and melt in the olive oil until the fat runs and turns transparent.  Now add the chopped onions, celery and carrots and allow to sweat for about 10 mins until they are softened and turning colour.  Next add the sliced leeks, the garlic crushed with salt and the tomato puree and freshly ground pepper, giving everything a good stir.  Lastly tip in the beans with their liquid, and the remaining 2 pints of stock. together with a bouquet garni of parsley stalks, sprig of thyme and bayleaf.  Simmer for 30 minutes, then add the chopped cabbage and simmer for further 10 minutes.  Remove the bouquet garni and serve with French bread and plenty of grated cheese.