Butter Bean, Bacon and Parsley Soup
Butter beans, boiled on their own (as I remember them at school) tend to be dull, but they make a good, thick, creamy soup and have the great virtue of being able to absorb other flavours really well.
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This recipe first appeared in The Delia Collection: Soup.
First of all, you need to soak the beans overnight in a pan by covering them with cold water, or, using the same amount of cold water, bring them up to the boil, boil for 10 minutes and leave them to soak for 2 hours. Either way, drain the beans. Now heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium saucepan and cook the bacon in it for 5 minutes or until lightly crisp and golden.
Next, add the bay leaf and 1¾ pints (1 litre) water to the pan with the drained beans. Bring to the boil, partially cover, and simmer gently for 20-30 minutes or until the beans are tender, skimming off any scum that appears on the surface.
Meanwhile, heat the butter and remaining oil in a large saucepan and add the chopped onion, leek and celery. Stir to coat everything with butter and oil, and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes. Now tip the bacon, along with the cooked beans and their cooking liquor, into the pan containing the vegetables, discarding the bay leaf.
Next, add the garlic, cover and continue simmering for a further 10 minutes or until the beans and vegetables are soft, then mash the beans against the sides of the pan with a large fork to thicken the soup.
Now stir in the milk, season with salt and a generous grinding of freshly milled black pepper and stir everything together, before adding the chopped parsley to serve.
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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.
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.
A bag of mixed salad leaves inspired Delia to create this lovely smooth soup that is cheap and nutritious. A good one for spring, when watercress and new potatoes are at their peak.
For vegetarians – or simply for a change – it is a nice idea to omit the bacon and pile some croûtons on top of this soup in a heatproof bowl, then sprinkle with ¾ oz (20 g) of strong Cheddar and melt under a hot grill.
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.
Vegetarians and meat-eaters alike will love this really thick soup crammed with beans, rice and a host of wintry veg. All you need is some good bread and cheese to go with it…
Although they are cheap, split peas are actually brilliant on the nutritious front and provide plenty of fibre in the diet. This soup is just one way of enjoying them...
Roasted pumpkin takes on plenty of toasty flavours - add melting cheese and this soup is truly sensational!
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.
Low-fat, full of flavour, easy to make and suitable for freezing: there really is every reason to make this superb velvety, almost fat-free soup on a winter's day. It's bound to become a favourite immediately!
A hearty soup drawn from the rustic traditions of French cooking: vary the vegetables according to season and whatever you have to hand. All you need to serve it is plenty of crusty bread.
Mulligatawny was highly fashionable in Victorian times and, indeed, this recipe was influenced by Eliza Acton, one of that era's most prolific cookery writers. Spicy, warming and vegetarian, it's a real classic.
This is a truly sublime soup, it would be good with any cheese you happen to have handy. More good news – it takes little more than 40 mintes to make.
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