... then this warming little dish will certainly sing on the roof of every mouth. A bold, effective and simple starter which is a delicate pleasure.
1.2 litres (2 pints) water
250g (8 oz) haricot beans soaked overnight
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 celery sticks, washed and finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley or a sprig or two of mint
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 large onion, finely chopped
Strain the liquid from the beans and place in a saucepan of fresh cold water. Put a lid on the pan and boil rapidly for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat and simmer for up to 1 ½ hours until the beans have softened.
Add a pinch or two of salt towards the last 15 minutes of cooking time. Drain the liquid into a jug and set aside.
In a frying pan, heat the oil. Fry the onion, garlic and celery for 4 minutes until softened.
Pour 1 pint (600 ml) of the reserved bean stock into a blender along with half of the beans and whizz to a puree. Add the celery, onion and the remainder of the beans. Bring to the boil, season and reduce the heat. Simmer for 30 minutes.
Transfer to warmed soup tureens and garnish with parsley or mint.