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  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium-size yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium-size stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • ½ teaspoon each dried thyme and basil, crumbled
  • 2/3 cup Toasted Orzo
  • 1 cup Beans
  • ¼ cup minced fresh basil or parsley

Rinse and soak beans overnight; drain. Bring 4 cups of water and beans to boil. Cook for 30-45 minutes.

Bring water and toasted orzo to a boil; cook for 6 to 8 minutes.

In a saucepan, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, stock, thyme and basil and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so that the mixture simmers gently, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.

Bring the soup back to a boil over moderately high heat, add the toasted orzo and beans, and cook until heated through. Stir in the basil. Makes 6 1½-cup servings.