Fresh Tomato and Bean Soup

Ingredients:

2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes [I had just under two pounds.  I had bought them for another recipe and forgot I had them, oops]
2 Tablespoons olive oil [Of course I used EVOO]
2 cups roughly chopped onions [I used two green onions so fresh they still had the dirt on them and two fresh leeks. I am beginning to love the flavor of leeks.]
2 cloves garlic, crushed [I used green garlic, it just gave it more of a punch. I crush it and then chop it up more because I personally don’t wish for a huge wade of garlic in my mouth]
3 1/4 cups vegetable stock [I believe I used a whole quart (4 cups) I didn’t want to lose the broth-y-ness of this soup because of my freaky gas stove]
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato paste
2 teaspoons paprika [I used a smidge less because it can be overpowering]
1 tablespoon cornstarch
15 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained [I actually used this but I think it was a 14 ounce can, they only make them in one size that is close to what most recipes call for]
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro [My local grocery store has this in a tube you can keep in the fridge, I used it because I don’t cook enough recipe which require it and I could not see spending the kind of money they wanted for the fresh stuff]
salt and pepper [see notes]
French Bread, to serve

1.  First peel the tomatoes.  Using a sharp knife, make a small cross in each one and place in a bowl.  Pour enough boiling water over to cover and leave to stand for 30 to 60 seconds.  [This is a super cool way to peel the skins off, they just slip right off and you don’t have to have a huge mess trying to peel tomatoes.]

2. Drain the tomatoes and, when they are cool enough to handle peel off the skins.  Quarter them and then cut each piece in half again.

3.  Heat the oil in a large saucepan.  Add the onions and garlic and cook for 3 minutes or until just beginning to become soft.  [Onions, in my experience, take longer then the recommended time to become soft.  Use your judgement.]

4.   Add the tomatoes to the onions and stir in the stock, tomato paste, and paprika.  Season with a little salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.  [regarding salt and pepper use:  I used a PINCH of each.  I have measuring spoons I picked up from TJMaxx.  See notes]

5.  Mix the cornstarch to a past with 2 Tablespoons water.  Stir the beans into the soup with cornstarch paste.  Cook for 5 minutes longer.

6.  Adjust the seasoning and stir in the chopped cilantro just before serving with olive ciabatta bread.

**NOTES**
I used salt and pepper in this recipe.  I have noticed because I am using fresh ingredients sometimes the soups are bland.  I try very hard to make these soups as healthy as possible.  As I am working on a healthier lifestyle.  There are times, especially when using beans, I find the soups need just a HINT or PINCH of salt to pull the flavor of it forward.  I see salt as more of an enhancement not a cover.

This was a super easy recipe and took me very little time to do at all.

Makes 5 or 6 measured cups.  There is NOT alot to this soup so if you are feeding more then 3 adults, double it.

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