1 pound dried cannellini or haricot beans
1 (14 ounce) can chopped tomatoes
2 to 3 large carrots, chopped or sliced
3 to 4 stalks celery, chopped or sliced
1 large onion, diced coarsely
2 bay leaves
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves torn from the stems
salt and pepper, to taste
vegetable stock or water, as needed
1. Pour a kettleful of boiling water over the beans and steep them overnight. In the morning, drain the beans and mix with the other ingredients minus the salt, parsley, and stock.
2. Place mixture in a large crockpot and add enough stock and/or water to just cover ingredients. Set crockpot on low heat, and let cook for 8 to 10 hours.
3. Add salt and parsley; stir well, and keep on warm setting for 1/2 hour while the salt dissolves and the parsley softens and infuses. Add more liquid, if needed. It should be almost like a stew.
Serve with plenty of fresh, crusty bread. If liked, add a few black olives to each bowl of soup.
Source of recipe: I used to make this soup by the traditional method, but the cooking time for dried beans can vary enormously and unpredictably (anything between 2-4 hours, depending on type and age), so I have found a slow cooker much more reliable. I used a the VegWeb crockpot bean soup recipe for guidance, but modified it to suit my taste.