It’s time for soup! The colder it gets the more I feel like food that is up-lefting and soul-warming. Something that makes me feel strong and prepares me for the cold, dark months ahead of me. Although I love winter, the snow, even the cold, when you get cosy inside, slow down and relax, it’s important to treat yourself to the right food to renew your body and mind.
I’m in the mood for a thick soup, smooth but light – like my Minestrone with big butter beans and fennel with some parsley and black olives sprinkled on top. The texture is velvety and it tastes a bit sweet. Today I add a piece of bacon to it as I feel like something deeper in taste. Usually I cook the vegetarian version, I don’t prefer one over the other, both are nice winter treats!
Butter Bean and Fennel Soup
Keep in mind that you have to soak the dried beans in water overnight. I like to cook soups in bigger batches to store some in the freezer – great for busy days. This recipe is for 4 people, sometimes I even double the amount.
dried butter beans or Cannellini beans, soaked in cold water overnight, 250g / 9 ounces
fennel, rinsed, cut in thin slices, 300g / 10.5 ounces
celery stalk, cut in cubes, 1
onion, cut in cubes, 1
broth or water, around 1500 ml
optional: a piece of bacon, 40g / 1.5 ounces
garlic, crushed, 1 clove
bay leaf, 1
salt and pepper
olive oil for frying
parsley, chopped, for topping, 2 tablespoons
black olives, chopped, for topping, 4
good olive oil for topping
Heat some oil in a large pot. Fry the onion, celery, garlic and bacon (left in one piece) for a few minutes. Add the fennel, take the beans out of the water and put them into the pot as well. Fill with broth, add the bay leaf and close with a lid. Don’t season with salt before the beans are done or they won’t become soft. Cook for 30 minutes or until the beans are soft. Depending on the bean’s texture it may take another 30 minutes. Mine needed 60 minutes today but I must admit that I found them in a dark corner of my shelf.
When the beans are done, take out half of the vegetables (cooked beans and fennel) and put them to the side. Mix the other half of the vegetables together with the liquid in a blender and season with salt and pepper. Put everything back into the pot together with the remaining vegetables. When you arrange the soup in soup bowls sprinkle with olives and parsley and drizzle your best olive oil on top.