Sunday, November 25, 2012

Three Bean Slow Cooker Soup

Recipe from Quick Fix Vegetarian by Robin Robertson 
Husband-Tested in Alice's Kitchen
Serves 6

There are so many good things about this soup. It's tasty, easy to prepare, no bean soaking involved, it's made in a slow cooker/crockpot, it's loaded with fiber, it's low fat, it can be frozen for later, and like most soups, tastes even better the next day. All of the ingredients can be found at the Lost River Market & Deli. I recommend making this on the weekend, storing it in the fridge and taking it to work every day for a satisfying lunch. All you'd need to take in your lunch box would be a piece of fresh fruit and a slice of whole wheat bread. For dinner, serve it with a healthful salad & whole-wheat rolls for a very good-for-you dinner. 

1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper (any color)
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1 (16 oz.) can dark red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
1 (16 oz.) can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 (16 oz.) can cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
4 cups vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup dry sherry (optional) (I used this and thought it added a very nice touch. Don't use “cooking sherry.” Cooking wines are loaded with sodium & gives dishes an off taste.)
2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley or cilantro
Tabasco sauce, to taste (I use LocalFolks hot sauces.  They’re fabulous.)

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic & bell pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes to soften. Transfer onion mixture to a 4-quart slow cooker.
Add the carrots, all of the beans, the tomatoes, broth, bay leaf, thyme, and salt & pepper.
Cover & cook on low for 8 hours. (Jim and I couldn't wait. We ate some after 6 hours and it was fine.) Remove and discard the bay leaf.
Add the sherry. Before serving, puree the soup with an immersion blender** used right in the cooker. Stir in the parsley & add Tabasco sauce.

**If you don't have an immersion blender, just ladle 2 cups of the soup into a regular blender or food processor. Puree and stir back into the soup. Pureeing a portion of the finished soup also intensifies the flavor as well as giving it a thicker, creamier texture.

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