Summer Soup

Italian curly endive and bean soup

Described by Sophie Grisgson (The Vegetable Bible) as a “perfect reassuring rustic dish for those unwelcome overcast summer days when the temperature is not what you think it should be”.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 stickes of celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbls olive oil
  • 400g (14oz) shelled fresh borlotti or haricot beans or 300g (11oz) dried beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 bouquet garni  (1 bay leaf,  2 sprigs thyme, 2 parsley stalks tied together with string)
  • 2 litres (3 ½ pints) chicken or vegetable stock)
  • 1 head of curly endive or frisee lettuce, well rinsed, damaged leaves removed
  • Salt and pepper

Method –

  • Fry the onion, celery and garlic gently in the olive oil in a large saucepan until very tender, without browning.
  • Add the beans, bouquet garni and the stock
  • If using dried beans add an extra 7floz water
  • Bring to the boil and simmer until the beans are so tender they are beginning to collapse
  • Take off the heat  and discard the bouquet garni
  • Liquidise enough of the beans to thicken the soup, but leave some chunky
  • Bring a pan of water to the boil
  • Set aside a few sprigs of endive / frisee for the garnish
  • Plunge the rest of the endive / frisee into the pan, bring back to the boil then drian immediately. And then chop it roughly
  • 10 minutes before serving, reheat the soup, stir in the endive / frisee, salt and pepper (to taste).
  • Simmer for 1 – 2 minutes then serve, drizzling each bowlful with a trickle of olive oil and a sprig of endive / frisee

NOTES – I used frozen borlotti beans, which I cooked on a rolling boil for 10 minutes, then drained and rinsed them and cooked them as per the recipe. If doing this use about 1 ½ litres of water instead of the full 2 litres in the recipe.

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