What’s that you’ve got there?
It’s bean soup.
Yes, I can see that, but what is it now?
(Very old verbal joke!)
So I was making this soup today (it’s actually another bottom of the fridge soup, scrabbled together on the spur of the moment), got as far as sweating off the onions in a little oil and butter, and when they were soft, stirring in the paprika, when the nurse arrived, enthusing wildly about how wonderful it smelled, and could she have the recipe – so this is it. Tempting to give her a recipe for fried onions but, no, let’s do the decent thing…
4 or 5 Golf-ball sized onions
A handful of small carrots
As I said, bottom of the fridge – that was what I had in there; you might have something different but, hey, it’s soup, it’s flexible. As long as it’s carrots and onions, that’s all that matters.
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 Kallo organic veg stock cubes
1 teaspoon Marigold stock powder (optional)
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 garlic clove, crushed (optional)
Generous knob of butter
A splash of olive oil , add more if needed later
A splash of soy sauce
¼ teaspoon celery salt
2 cans of Napolina Cannellini Beans, well rinsed and drained
And this is what you do with it which, truth to tell, isn’t very much.
Dissolve the stock cubes in a little hot water.
Peel and chop the onions, peel and slice the carrots. Melt the butter in the oil (the oil stops the butter burning), in a medium saucepan, add the onions and sweat i.e. cook gently without colouring), over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until soft. Add the paprika and stir in, adding a little more oil if it’s dry. Cook off for a few minutes, then add the carrots and the dissolved stock cubes, and half fill the pan with boiling water.
Add everything else except the beans and the Marigold. Stir, bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and leave until the carrots are soft, stirring now and again so nothing sticks.
Once the carrots are soft, add the beans, top up the pan with boiling water to within an inch or so of the top, and heat through gently. Taste, add the Marigold if you think it needs more flavour, season with black pepper, and check to see if it needs salt (if too salty, add more water, if needed, season with sea salt).
Leave to cool, then refrigerate, as always, until the following day. All soups and stews benefit from a chance for the flavours to snuggle up to each other in the cold and dark.
Next day, reheat and serve with a hunk of good bread.
A note about the beans: Over the years I’ve cooked my own beans from scratch, and tried pretty much every canned brand, including OB, available in supermarkets.
Cooking from scratch is undoubtedly best, and also gives stock for soup, but it’s time consuming and needs planning. I cook when I’m able to, so soaking beans overnight might mean they’re ready for cooking when I’m not, making canned beans a better option, and of the plethora of canned beans available, Napolina are, by some margin, the best.
Not cheap, though frequently on offer, but I’ve calculated that they cost little or no more than cooking your own from scratch if you factor in the fuel cost.
This gets just one spoonie spoon, as it’s very easy. Even easier using pre-prepped carrots and onions.