Indy Power: Souped up beans
This creamy white bean soup can be rustled up in just 15 minutes.
White Bean & Charred Garlic Soup
This is such a gorgeous, creamy soup with serious flavour and just five cheap ingredients. Charring the garlic and crisping the rosemary make them taste rich and roasted in a matter of minutes - you can have this on the table in 15 minutes.
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Gluten-free & vegan
3 tins of cannellini or butter beans (each 240g drained weight)
4 cloves of garlic
3 tbsp of olive oil
Handful of fresh rosemary
Sea salt and pepper
1. Drain and rinse the beans and set them aside.
2. Peel the garlic. Place a small pan on medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the whole garlic cloves and let them sizzle. Cook them for about 4 minutes, only tossing every so often until nice and golden. Then, add the rosemary leaves (discard the stalks) and continue to cook for another minute until the garlic is starting to brown and the rosemary is almost crisp.
3. Add two thirds of the beans to your blender with the stock. Use a spoon to remove the charred garlic and rosemary from the pan and add them to the blender. Blend until smooth.
4. Pour the leftover oil into a soup pot and turn the heat to medium. Add the remaining whole beans, season well with salt and pepper and toss them in the oil. Let them cook for a few minutes, tossing often, then pour in the creamy bean mixture.
5. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and bring it all up to a simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then serve.
This method of charring the garlic is a great one to have up your sleeve for adding rich flavour to loads of different dishes. It gives all of the effect of roasted garlic but takes a fraction of the time. I especially like to do it when making sauces and dips - it's a great trick for changing up hummus and pesto with some roasted undertones. It also really brings out the flavour in herbs like rosemary and sage that almost always taste better with a little crisp. If you want a little crunch on top, fry some extra rosemary for garnishing the soup at the end. Any leftover oil in the pan is incredible drizzled on top too.
Soup is one of my favourite things to freeze and this one works particularly well as it's thickened with beans rather than any milks or creams, which have a tendency to separate once defrosted. This is how I freeze my soups: first, leave them to cool completely (this is really important so you don't throw off your freezer temperature), then transfer them to a large Ziploc bag (I use reusable ones), seal them and lay them flat in the freezer. When you have multiple bags of frozen meals, having them frozen thin and flat makes them so much easier to store. They also defrost more quickly.
Full of beans
The beauty of this recipe is how cheap and simple it is thanks to the tinned beans. Feel free to use a mixture of white beans and chickpeas if those are what you have. Butter beans and cannellini work best for the blending step and chickpeas for leaving whole.