hungarian bean soup

Making a big pot of soup chockfull of vegetables is a weekend ritual around here, and Hungarian Bean Soup is a favorite.

2 Tbs. olive oil
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
6 cups vegetable stock (if you prefer, use vegetarian chicken-flavor broth)
2 bay leaves
1 14-oz. can pinto beans, drained
1 tsp. Hungarian paprika
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a large stewpot. Sautè celery, onion, carrots, and garlic until vegetables begin to soften (about 10 minutes).

2. Add vegetable stock; heat to boiling. Reduce heat; add bay leaves, cover, and simmer until celery is soft (about 30 minutes). Add pinto beans, paprika, oregano, and basil. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.

3. Add salt and pepper to taste. Discard bay leaves and serve with sides of salad and/or crusty peasant bread.

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