Bean Soup with Celery and Green Peppercorns: It has been glorious weather here, which has made us feel very guilty as the rest of Europe shivered below zero under blankets of snow. However, my phone now tells me there is a 100% chance of snow, and it is to be windy and chilly. So, before the colossal head of celery taking over my fridge loses its lustre, I thought I should turn it into lunch!
Comfort food – but needs a little planning as, ideally, the beans need to soak overnight. Perfect as a Bean Soup to make while working because it is chopped, sauteed, and left to cook for an hour or so. And to be honest, if you have forgotten to soak your beans, you can boil them in 2 to 3 times their water for 2 minutes, then cover and leave to soak for an hour. Drain, and you are good to go on your soup-making mission.
Use any soup bean mix or throw handfuls from packets in the store cupboard. My mix had chickpeas, black beans, green and split peas, coral lentils, black-eyed beans, roman beans and split mung beans. Keep the beans a similar size, and then add lentils.
An effortless fresh-tasting bean soup – I resisted the temptation to add too much spice, only the mild banana peppers, as the dried green peppercorns give it a lovely flavour together with the handfuls of celery – particularly the leaves, a little parmesan rind and good chicken or vegetable stock. However, stock cubes will also do the trick just fine.
Serve topped with finely shredded celery leaves and grated cheese.
Check out our Soups and Stews page for more warm dishes for cold days.
Bean Soup with Celery and Green Peppercorns
- 400 g mixed beans and lentils Soaked overnight in a pinch of bicarbonate of soda or boiled for 2/3 minutes and soaked in the cooking water for an hour.
- 3 sticks celery chopped
- large bunch roughly chopped celery leaves plus small bunch of the smaller tender leaves finely sliced to serve
- 4 or 5 spring onions including the green ends – sliced into strips
- 2 banana peppers sliced into rings or you could use the spicier pepperoncini peppers or crushed red pepper chilli flakes
- 1½ tbsp lightly crushed dried green peppercorns
- 3 cloves grated garlic
- 1 litre chicken/vegetable stock or cube
- 5cm piece parmesan rind optional
- olive oil
- grated parmesan to serve
- gently melt the celery, banana peppers and spring onions in the olive oil, when just soft add the drained beans, grated garlic and green peppercorns.
- Add the celery leaves, give it a good stir and toss in the parmesan rind and half the chicken stock.
- Bring it to the boil, cover and then simmer for about 20 minutes before adding the rest of the stock (or water if you are using a stock cube). It should take about 1½ hours to cook depending on the freshness of your dried beans.
- Before serving – remove the rind and taste for salt and maybe add a little extra freshly ground pepper. Serve with crusty bread, the finely sliced celery leaves and grated cheese of your choice.