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Chef's Corner - Machine Shed Minestrone Soup

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Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large onion, peeled and diced
2 ribs celery, sliced
2 parsnips, peeled and sliced
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
16 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1/2 pound green beans
4 zucchini, diced in 1/2 inch chunks
1/2 pound okra, fresh or frozen, sliced
1/2 pound frozen lima beans
1 can (16 oz) white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 pound fresh spinach leaves
1 cup frozen peas
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat a stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add the olive oil, garlic, onion, celery, parsnips and carrots. Saute for 10 minutes.
2. Add the stock, bay leaves, and oregano and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a medium and simmer for 12 minutes.
3. Add the green beans, zucchini, and okra.  Simmer an additional 7 minutes.
4. Add the lima beans, cannellini beans, spinach, and frozen peas and stir to wilt the spinach.
5. Add the vinegar, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper and simmer an additional 3 to 5 minutes.  Remove and discard the bay leaves before serving.
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