I love experimenting with soup and generally I’ll put together at least 10 different soup recipes during fall and winter. For me they bring warmth and comfort that takes me back to my childhood.
My dad used to (and still does!) make an amazing corned beef soup, I remember watching in sceptical amazement as he poured vinegar from a jar of pickled beetroot into the bubbling pan before serving it up the soup with slices of beetroot on top. Sounded strange, but tasted amazing!
My mum on the other hand, makes the best chicken and vegetable soup. She’d boil up the chicken bones for hours until the stock was so flavoursome you could drink it by itself. I craved it so much when I was pregnant I even sent my husband Chris out for chicken in the middle of the night so I could have a bowl ready for breakfast.
I still make both of those soups today, but now I also love to make soups with lentils, veggies or beans. I’d never even touched a lentil before having my first child, but then I started making baby purees with lentils in and I realised what I’d been missing out on!
This soup is made from dried haricot (navy) beans. You need to soak them overnight in cold water before using them in this recipe. They’re then boiled up with onions, garlic and stock before being pureed. I actually quite like them at this point, but adding some parmesan and lemon juice and then topping with a little pesto really takes the soup to a whole new level.
Don’t forget the black pepper too!
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 small onion, peeled and chopped into small chunks
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 5 cups hot chicken of vegetable stock (fresh stock or water plus 2 stock cubes is fine)
- 1+1/2 cups dried haricot/navy beans, soaked for at least 12 hours in cold water, then drained
- 6 tbsp freshly shredded parmesan (plus extra to serve)
- Salt and pepper
- Juice of half a lemon
- 2 tbsp pesto
- Heat the butter and oil together in a large saucepan. Add in the onion and cook on low for 5 minutes until the onion starts to soften. Add in the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes, then add in the stock and the haricot beans. Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer. Place a lid on and cook for 90 minutes-2 hours until the beans have softened.
- Once the beans are cooked scoop out two tbsp (for garnish), then whizz up the contents of the pan with a stick blender.
- Stir in the parmesan a pinch of salt and pepper and the lemon juice. Have a taste and add more seasoning if necessary.
- Spoon out into 4 bowls then swirl ½ a tbsp. of pesto into each bowl. Sprinkle with parmesan and black pepper, then serve.