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SHORTCUT SERVES UP BEAN SOUP ON WEEKDAYS

White bean soup is usually relegated to weekend fare because of the lengthy prep time needed to hydrate the beans. The soup isn't overly complicated, just some sauted aromatics, beans and broth.

Wanting the reward of the soup, but lacking the time needed to prepare the beans, I decided to try making a soup with canned beans. I have had luck subbing canned black beans for dried and hoped I would have the same success with navy beans.

I started off sauteing some onion and garlic, but if your supermarket sells packaged mirepoix (a combination of chopped onion, celery and carrots), feel free to substitute that. I added the rinsed beans and some broth and brought it to a boil. I clipped and added a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, the last remnant of my summer herb garden, to infuse the soup with flavor as it simmered. A quick puree in the blender, and it was ready to go.

For a vegetarian soup, use vegetable stock. For a meatier stock, saute a couple of strips of bacon or pancetta before adding the onions.

TONIGHT'S SOLUTION: Rosemary White Bean Soup

TO MAKE THE MEAL:Serve with mixed green salad and whole wheat roll.

If you have a great-tasting main dish recipe that uses no more than five ingredients and can be made in 30 minutes or less, tell us. (Salt, pepper and oil for greasing a pan don't count.) Send recipe to 5:30 Challenge, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Eighth Floor, 72 Marietta St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30303, or e-mail fivethirty@ajc.com.

SOUP

Rosemary White Bean Soup

1 onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

3 (16-ounce) cans navy beans, rinsed and drained

3 to 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

2 (2-inch) sprigs fresh rosemary

- In a lightly oiled large saucepan, saute onion for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add garlic and saute for 1 to 2 minutes.

- Add beans and 3 cups broth and bring to a boil.

- Reduce heat, add rosemary and simmer for 15 minutes.

- Cool slightly; remove rosemary and puree in a blender until smooth. Add more broth if necessary.

Makes 4 servings.Nutritional information per serving: 411 calories (percent of calories from fat, 3), 33g protein, 70g carbohydrates, 17g fiber, 1g fat (trace saturated), no cholesterol, 919mg sodium.

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