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Tuscan bean stew

This filling soup is Italian in origin but we add smoked bacon instead of pancetta to give it a smoky flavour. It keeps well for 2 days in the fridge and is the ideal soup to freeze or to take for lunch the next day. It really makes a difference if you add the extra virgin olive oil before you serve it.

Serves 3-4


Olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced
1 stick of celery, sliced
1 carrot, diced finely
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
200g of smoked bacon, diced
1 tin of borlotti beans, rinsed and drained
1 litre of chicken stock, made from a stock cube or fresh
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons of chopped mixed fresh herbs: oregano and thyme
Fresh parsley to garnish
Good extra virgin olive oil



1. Fry the onion, celery and carrot in a heavy saucepan over gentle heat until they soften and turn golden (about 10 minutes).
Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes, then remove it.
2. Add the smoked bacon and fry for a minute or two, then add the beans, chicken stock, bay leaf and oregano and thyme.
3. Cook for 15-20 minutes and serve, garnished with fresh parsley and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil for health and flavour.

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