The weather in my part of the world has been positively balmy for most of October. This week the temperatures took a dip, meaning we were digging out scarves and woolly hats for the first time in a few months. With this weather, must come soup. It's one of life's pleasures that makes winter enjoyable.
In truth, this week's soup is an all-season soup. We've used butter beans for the soup, but you could also use cannellini beans if you can find them. The combination of white beans and a good quality chorizo is a food pairing that never lets you down. Try it on toast, by making a garlic-heavy white bean hummus and topping with chunks of chorizo.
The chorizo I used this week is from The Wooded Pig, a family-run company raising free-range pigs on their farm near Tara. They also do salami, and their chorizo in particular was soft and silky, perfect for slicing thinly and using as a garnish, as well as cooking up in the soup for extra flavour.
I found them at the Green Door Market in Dublin 8, and you can find out more about them on thewoodedpig.ie.
Other great Irish butchers that have been curing for quite some time include Fingal Ferguson, whose Gubeen chorizo is perhaps the most well-known Irish-cured sausage. Also doing exceptional work in meat curing is Rick Higgins and Antonio Princigallo, through their Dublin charcuterie company Forage & Cure. You'll find them in selected SuperValu stores or in Higgins' Family Butchers in Sutton. Check them out on forageandcure.com.
Though I do love chorizo in a soup, if you're vegetarian, just leave out the chorizo and you'll still have a very tasty dish.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
3 garlic cloves
2 celery sticks
About 50g of cured chorizo (optional)
1 teaspoon of chilli flakes
1 litre of vegetable or chicken stock
3 tins of butter beans (or cannellini beans)
Sourdough bread, garlic clove and oil
1. Peel and roughly chop the onion and garlic cloves. Roughly chop the celery sticks, too.
2. In a heavy-based saucepan, heat a little olive oil over a medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, celery and chorizo (if using) and cook gently for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Be careful not to burn the onions or garlic as that will give your soup a bitter taste.
3. Add a teaspoon of chilli flakes to your veg and fry for a further minute.
4. Next, add the stock. Drain the tinned beans, discarding the brine, and add the beans to the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
5. Use a hand-held blender to blitz the soup until smooth.
6. Toast a few slices of sourdough bread and drizzle with a bit of oil. Cut a clove of garlic in half and rub it three times along the toast, so that you have garlic toasts.
7. Divide the soup into bowls and serve with some fresh rosemary, a drizzle of rapeseed oil and some salt and pepper. Top with a few thin slices of cured chorizo and serve with the garlic toast on the side.
This week's storecupboard essential:
Irish cured meat: Whether it's Irish chorizo and salami from Gubeen in West Cork or Forage & Cure in Dublin, or air-dried and smoked lamb from McGeogh's Butcher in Connemara, seek out fine Irish cured meat to spruce up your soups.