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 Meridian Café's Tomato Bean Soup Recipe
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Meridian Café's Tomato Bean Soup

8 ounces dried black beans, or 15-ounce can, undrained
8 ounces dried red kidney beans, or 15-ounce can, undrained
8 ounces dried pinto beans, or 15-ounce can, undrained
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 small yellow squash, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried sage
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook beans according to package directions, until they are soft (this usually requires about 1-1/2 to 2 hours). Drain, reserving the cooking liquid. Set aside.

In a large stock pot, heat oil until it shimmers. Add onion, celery, squash and zucchini; cook until lightly browned and slightly translucent. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, or until fragrant. (Do not let garlic cook into brown, hard crispy bits — soft, fragrant garlic adds a more pleasant flavor.)

Add diced tomatoes with liquid; cook 30 minutes. Add spices, and cook 10 minutes longer. Purée these ingredients in a blender (in three batches, holding a towel over the top to prevent the liquid from "jumping" out). Return ingredients to pot. Add cooked beans. Simmer 10 minutes, adding reserved bean liquid to thin to your taste.

Serves 8 to 12.

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