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Hearty Beef Soup

2 carrots -- peeled & sliced fairly thin (2 to 3)
1 med onion -- diced
1 med potatoes -- diced (1 to 2)
3 cloves -- whole (3 to 5)
3 peppercorns -- whole (3 to 4)
2 bay leaves
2 c beans of choice (soaked first overnight)
1 can stewed tomatoes -- (28oz) or Italian tomatoes
3 T dried oregano
3 T dried basil
1/2 c uncooked buckwheat -- optional and/or 1 c mini-shell pasta, optional

Put all but the shell pasta (optional) in the slow cooker. Fill it to the very top of the rim with water (doesn't have to be hot). Turn it on high for one hour to cook the vegetables until they are tender. Then turn the slow cooker down to low, and cook until soup is flavored as you like. Season with salt & pepper to taste. If you like a spicy version, use cayenne instead of regular pepper.

If you are using mini pastas, add them for the last half hour of stewing. Remove the bay leaf, peppercorns, bones, and cloves (or warn the folks eating the soup!).

You can also adapt this recipe as desired to make soup from a leftover chicken or turkey carcass. Just dump it all in and add water to fill to the top. Try also, different spices (cumin, cilantro, etc. . . )

Some general comments about this recipe:

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