Butter Bean Soup

Gorgeous floury and creamy texture.  Better again if you liquidise/food-process the soup.  Best of all liquidise only some of the beans.  Not a recipe – more a list of variations; jazz riffs meet recipe book.

Ingredients

  • 8oz/225g dried Butter Beans
    • Rinse, then cover them with cold water and either – leave them to soak overnight; OR bring to the boil, switch off the heat, and allow to soak for a couple of hours.
    • Drain the beans.
  • 2 onions (and/or 2 leeks)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • Herbs
    • Your taste. your call. Just put some in, fresh and/or dried.
  • Water or stock

Method

  • Pop drained beans into a saucepan, cover with water or stock and bring to the boil – cook for a few minutes, removing any scum that forms on top.
  • After about 10 minutes, add the onions (peeled and quartered), garlic cloves (peeled), bay leaf and dried herbs of your choice, and pepper. Don’t add salt yet.
  • Simmer until beans are soft – how long this takes depends on the age of your beans; as little as an hour if you’re lucky – or it could take two.
  • Once the beans are almost as soft as you want them, add salt to taste and fresh herbs of your choice.
  • Your call now – mash some or all of the beans with a potato masher or fork for a rough texture; liquidise some or all of the beans for a smooth consistency; or just cook for a few more minutes for the salt to get around the pot, and serve, rustic and whole.
  • Simple and satisfying – especially with good home-made bread.

Make it more interesting by

  • adding any or all of 2-3 carrots (diced/sliced), 2 sticks celery (sliced), fresh tomatoes (chopped) or a tin, or tomato puree, either at the start with the onion and garlic, or about 30 minutes before the soup is ready;
  • or take some lamb chops or pieces of mutton, browned in a frying pan, and add with the garlic and onion to stew;
  • or add a fillet of undyed smoked haddock/cod about 10 minutes before you stop cooking, so that it just has time to flake and spread through the beans in chunks.
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