Israeli Bean Soup
2 cups small white beans (navy beans etc.)
6 cups cold water, for soaking the beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 onions, chopped
3 stalk celery, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 carrots, chopped
6 1/2 cups water
2 potatoes, peeled and cut in small chunks
1 bay leaves, up to 2
1 teaspoon dried thyme, to taste
1 teaspoon cumin, to taste
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced
Soak beans in cold water overnight. Drain & rinse well.
Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot. Saute onions and celery 5 minutes or until golden. Add garlic and carrots, and saute 5 minutes longer. Add water, beans, potatoes, bay leaves, thyme and cumin. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer partly covered for 1 hour.
Add tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Cook 1/2 hour longer, until beans are tender. Stir in cilantro.