Tuscan White Bean Soup with Frizzled Shallots and Pancetta
If you look down the list of ingredients here you might be forgiven for thinking this doesn't sound very exciting. Yet Italian cannellini beans transformed into a soup are just wonderful, both in texture and in flavour. The other essential ingredients are fresh herbs and the best Italian extra virgin olive oil you can lay your hands on.
If you're entertaining, make this soup and Black Bean Soup (see recipe below), and serve them together with one or other of the garnishes. All you do is re-heat both soups, then using two ladles, pour both ladlefuls into the warmed bowls at the same time, one from the left, the other from the right. It makes a lovely contrast.
|8 oz (225 g) dried cannellini beans|
|4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil|
|1 large onion, peeled and chopped|
|2 fat cloves garlic, crushed|
|1 stalk celery, chopped|
|1 good sprig each of parsley, thyme and rosemary|
|1 bay leaf|
|2 pints (1.2 litres) chicken stock (or see see recipe below)|
|juice ½ lemon|
|salt and freshly milled black pepper|
|For the frizzled shallots and pancetta garnish:|
|4 shallots, peeled and finely sliced into rings|
|1 x 70 g pack (or 3 oz) thinly sliced pancetta or streaky bacon|
|3 tablespoons olive oil|
|Need help with conversions?|
|You will also need a 6 pint (3.5 litre) saucepan|
This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Winter Collection and The Delia Collection: Soup.
First of all you need to soak the beans in twice their volume of cold water overnight or, failing that, use the same amount of cold water, bring them up to the boil, boil for 10 minutes and leave them to soak for 2 hours. When you're ready to make the soup, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in the saucepan and gently soften the onion in it for 5 minutes.
Then add the garlic and continue to cook gently for about 1 minute. After that add the drained beans, celery, herbs, bay leaf and black pepper, but no salt at this stage. Now pour in the stock and stir well. As soon as it reaches a gentle simmer, put a lid on and keep it at the gentlest simmer for 1½ hours, stirring it from time to time. When the time is up, check the beans are tender and, if not, continue to cook them for a further 15-30 minutes.
When the beans are ready, season with salt, liquidise the soup or process it and pass it through a sieve (or simply sieve the whole lot).
When you are ready to serve the soup, re-heat gently without letting it come to the boil then add the lemon juice, check the seasoning and add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil just before serving. While you're re-heating the soup, make the garnish as follows: roll the pancetta or bacon strips into a cigar shape then with a sharp knife cut them into fine shreds, which you then need to separate out.
Now heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan over a high heat, and when the oil is hot and shimmering add the shallots and fry them for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally so they don't catch on the base of the pan.
When they are crisp and golden brown lift them on to crumpled kitchen paper to drain, using a draining spoon. Now heat another tablespoon of olive oil in the same pan and fry the pancetta or bacon strips over a high heat for about 2 minutes until they, too, are golden and crunchy. Drain on kitchen paper then serve a little of the shallots and pancetta on the soup as it goes to the table.
If you want to make the garnish in advance you can re-frizzle both in a hot frying pan just before serving.
Return to Homepage
Visit the Delia Online Cookery School with Waitrose
Click here to go to Waitrose.com
Copyright © 2009 Delia Smith/New Crane Internet Limited, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Fresh stocks are now available in tubs from supermarkets, but if you need a large quantity these can be expensive. Here's how to make chicken stock, which can be used in my soup recipes.
This is a big, hefty soup, perfect for the winter months with a light main course to follow. Alternatively, it is a complete lunch, with just some cheese and a salad after it.
This soup is simply stunning, one you'll want to make over and over again. Black beans don't have a strong flavour of their own but they do carry other flavours superbly, while at the same time yielding a unique velvety texture.
A lovely wintry soup, butter beans absorb the flavours of parsley, bacon, onions and garlic in this hearty and cheap dish. Perfect on a winter's day.
This has decidedly Mexican overtones. It isn't too hot and spicy but the presence of the chilli does give it a nice kick, and the flavour and texture of chickpeas is perfect for soup.
Plenty of vegetables and the addition of pasta make this an immensely satisfying and filling soup that costs very little but is definitely in the luxury class! Enjoy it with crusty bread.
Delia describes this soup as 'one of the best I've ever tasted' and we're certainly not arguing with that! Some soups are hearty and filling enough to make a substantial lunch and this Italian classic is one of them: just add bread…
Roasted pumpkin takes on plenty of toasty flavours - add melting cheese and this soup is truly sensational!
Not simply a recipe for leftover bits of Stilton, this one, but a delicious creamy soup that can enhance any dinner or supper party. Be careful not to boil the soup when re-heating.
Most Popular recipes
Autumn apple recipes
19 Sep 2014 10:34
19 Sep 2014 08:19
|Food and travel||
Short break ideas
13 Jul 2014 08:31
Naina ~ Gateaux de Yaourt
13 Aug 2014 15:12
|Can Anyone Help?||
19 Sep 2014 17:18
The Rainbow King
19 Sep 2014 08:29
Delia Online Salt and Pepper mills
05 Sep 2014 12:30
12 Sep 2014 00:01