White bean soup with new-season garlic and parsley

garlic

So tasty, quick and easy. It’s Mr Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s white bean soup with new-season garlic and parsley, of which I have 80% of the ingredients list home grown and bought from Hulme Garden Centre (and a little chuffed about). This is a seriously tasty soup and vegan too. You can make it with mature garlic (6-8 cloves) but fresh garlic gives it a fragrant springiness.

Ingredients

  • 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 whole bulbs new-season garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1,200g canned white beans (ie, 3 tins), such as cannellini, drained (I only had 2 tins of chickpeas – turned out yummy anyway, I expect the white beans will be more creamy)
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme (optional)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and roughly chopped

Method

Heat two tablespoons of the oil in a large pan over a low heat. Add half the thinly sliced garlic and let it sweat very gently for a minute or two, until it just starts to colour. Add the drained beans and enough stock just to cover them (top up with water if necessary). Add the bay and thyme (if using), bring to a simmer and cook for five minutes.

With a slotted spoon, scoop half the beans, and any garlic that comes with them, into a bowl; take out the bay and thyme, too. Use a stick blender to puree the beans and liquid left in the pan. Return the reserved beans and heat gently. Season to taste, then stir in most of the parsley.

Heat the remaining oil in a small pan over a low heat and add the rest of the sliced garlic. Cook as before, very gently, until it starts to turn golden, then remove from the heat.

Ladle the soup into bowls, spoon some garlic and its oil over each serving, and finish with a scattering of yet more parsley.

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