I complain about my small kitchen all the time, but the reality is it forces me to be creative and practical in many ways. For example, I need to constantly make room in my cupboards for new ingredients.
I don’t remember why I had a large jar of white beans, but I needed the jar so the beans had to go. I thought they would make a lovely white winter vegetable soup… and they did. Parsnip and cauliflower go so beautifully with beans, I think, and the garlic, cheese and herbs added all the right flavour dimensions.
You need to plan ahead if you want to make this as the beans have to soak overnight. Also, if you can wait, this soup will be even better after a day in the fridge, as the flavours develop and intensify.
- 2.5 cups dried white beans, such as lima beans
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 large parsnip, peeled, woody centre removed, and diced
- 3 cups cauliflower florets
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- olive oil
- 3-4 sprigs thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1.2 litres water
- vegetable stock cube
- salt & pepper
Put the beans in a large bowl and cover with cold water. The next day, rub them to slip the skins off. Don’t worry if you don’t get them all, they’ll come off when cooking. Drain and set aside.
Saute the onion in olive oil until soft. Add the garlic and parsnip, and sauté for a few minutes to soften the parsnip a little. Add the water, stock cube, thyme, bay leaves, beans, cauliflower and some salt and pepper.
Bring to the boil, reduce to a low simmer and skim any foam off the top that has accumulated. Simmer for 1.5 hours. Check a few times to see if it needs more water.
Remove the bay leaves and puree the soup in a blender or with a bamix stick. Season to taste.
Serve with some extra grated cheese, a swirl of cream, or some prosciutto, crisped up in the microwave and crumbled over the top. And I know it’s a daggy 80’s café thing to do, but I like mine with snipped chives.