Minestrone

Cold Winter weather is a great match for a hearty hot soup.  Minestrone is somewhere between soup and stew. 

This is my recipe based on what I like in a minestrone.

Ingredients

2 finely diced brown onions

1 finely diced red capsicum (red is sweeter than green) 

4 sliced celery sticks

4 finely diced carrots

2 teaspoons crushed garlic

2 tins diced tomatoes (I buy Australian)

1 tin cannelli white beans (I’ve substituted a tin of mixed beans at times and it makes a nice change) 

1.5 teaspoons powdered stock (I prefer reduced salt or you can use liquid stock and omit water, liquid stock is nice but more expensive) 

500g lean mince (I prefer beef)

200g diced bacon makes a nice addition but it can make it a bit salty 

2 tins (use the tomato tin) of water

1 teaspoon sugar (optional, but cuts the acid in the tomatoes)

2-3 teaspoons of mixed Italian herbs to taste (I like lots but you might like less) 

Method

Fry the onion and capsicum on a medium temperature until starting to become translucent.  Don’t rush this step as burnt onion can be bitter. 

Add the meat (and bacon if using) to brown.  Add remaining veg.  Add tinned tomatoes,  beans, sugar, water, stock and herbs. Simmer on low for at least 2 hours. You can have it earlier but the flavors are not nearly as nice. 

Serve sprinkled with Parmesan and mop up with crusty Italian bread.

Vegetarian?

Skip the meat and ensure the stock is vegetarian.

Super indulgent carb fest? 

Add macaroni noodles until just cooked. 

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