With all this rain I’ve been making a lot of soups. I love a good minestrone and on nights when I’m not in the mood to cook, but I’m hungry, I make my hearty bean soup. I use canned beans, if you rinse them thoroughly and use a good quality they are delicious. The soup does take an hour to cook but that’s time to allow the flavours to mellow, it takes about 10 minutes to prepare, then you can forget about it and enjoy the rest of the red wine left over from the recipe.
– 2 cans haricot beans (borlotti)
– 1 large onion
– 1 large carrot
– 1 stick of celery
– clove garlic finely minced
– pinch chili flakes
– 300ml red wine
– 660ml veg stock
– 1 can plum tomatoes
– bouquet garni (bay/thyme/rosemary)
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– salt & pepper
Start by finely chopping the carrot, celery and onion in a processor. Then add the olive oil to a heavy based pot and begin to gently soften the onion mix, garlic and the pinch of chili. Once the onions are soft, add the red wine and allow it 2 minutes to start being absorbed by the onion mix. Then add the can of tomatoes, stock and bundle of herbs. Bring to a simmer, then add the drained and rinsed beans, cover and let cook for an hour. Check it every 25 minutes and if it’s too thick add a splash more stock or water. When the soup is ready the flavours will have mellowed out, blend half the soup till smooth and add it to the balance to give it an instant creaminess.
This soup is very simple, so it needs a little something to give it some pop. I always drizzle it with the best possible quality extra virgin olive oil I can get hold of. A great oils fresh peppery taste lifts the soups flavour, add some fresh chopped parsley, some grated Parmesan and crusty bread to mop it all up and it’s a winner.
Beans are a great source of fibre, carbs and protein all in a single inexpensive vegetarian source.