Hearty Beef and Bean Minestrone Soup
250g (8 oz) Haricot (Navy or Great Northern) beans
2 Tablespoons Sunflower oil
500g (16 oz) lean minced (ground) beef
1 red pepper De-seeded and finely chopped
1 yellow pepper De-seeded and finely chopped
1 green pepper De-seeded and finely chopped
350g (12 oz) Courgettes (Zucchini), thinly sliced
2 medium (or 1 large) onion finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic (1 Tsp dried)
2.5 Litres (4 UK pints, or 5 US pints) chicken stock*
2 Tbsp (1 small can) tomato puree or paste
150g (6 oz) spaghetti, broken into small pieces (or elbow macaroni)
1 Tsp dried Parsley
1 Tsp dried Thyme
1 Tsp dried Marjoram
(* Or Chicken bouillon cubes dissolved in hot water)
Drain and rinse the soaked beans, and bring them to a boil in fresh water. Boil for 10 minutes and then lower heat and simmer for 50 minutes. Drain and rinse.
Heat the oil in a large pan, brown the beef. Add the peppers, courgettes, onion and garlic. Lower the heat and cook, stirring frequently for 5 minutes.
Pour in the chicken stock, and bring to the boil. Add the tomato puree, cooked beans, spaghetti and herbs. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or so.
Serve with fresh bread.
NOTE: The Courgettes (Zucchini) can be substituted with chopped Celery, if preferred.