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.
- 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
- Your taste. your call. Just put some in, fresh and/or dried.
- Water or stock
- 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.