Heinz Baked Beans made landfall earlier this week ending a one-year, culinary state of emergency.
Desperate times call for desperate measures and, throughout this painful period, entire Facebook groups were obsessed with discussing little else.
There was even famously a 'Blind Bean Tasting Event' held, where passionate bean eaters were blindfolded and fed a variety of different brands, only for genuine Heinz beans to be immediately identified by every taste testers.
In tribute to this overwhelmingly welcome return - and to stretch your beans stash a little further - I'm happy to share a favorite, Italian-style minestrone soup with you.
This countryside classic is usually made with red kidney beans, but using baked beans produces great results, and the tomato sauce only adds to the texture and flavor.
It's super quick, super versatile, family-friendly, and perfectly timed for the wintery weather ahead.
Put your hard-earned beans to work today!
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
1 teaspoon (5 ml) crushed garlic
4 - 5 large carrots, chopped
3 sticks celery, including some leaves, sliced
8 cups (2 liters) chicken/vegetable stock
1/2 cup (125 ml) tomato paste
1/3 cup (80 ml) chopped parsley
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1 teaspoon (5 ml) sugar
1 can baked beans in tomato sauce (Heinz is best)
1 cup (250 ml) small pasta, uncooked
1 teaspoon (5 ml) dried oregano
3 cups (750 ml) sliced, fresh spinach leaves (see notes)
1/3 cup Kiddush wine (optional)
Pesto to serve (optional)
1: Heat the oil in a large pot, add onions and garlic, and cook till softened but not browned.
2: Add carrots and celery and toss for a few minutes then add stock, tomato paste, salt and sugar, and simmer covered for 25 minutes until vegetables are cooked.
3: Add remaining ingredients - apart from wine - and simmer for a further 25 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
4: Stir in wine and serve garnished with a spoonful of basil pesto - optional but adds incredible flavor to all vegetable soups - and a smile.