Butter Bean & Squash Soup

Here’s a soup recipe inspired by one from Barbara Kingsolver’s book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle”. If you’ve not come across this book before, it definitely deserves a place on your Christmas book list. It’s a warm and inspiring account of the Hopp-Kingsolver family’s year of seasonal eating – mostly from things they grew in their own back garden (admittedly in a climate slightly different to Cumbria’s, but one of the charms of this book is that it delights in making the most of what you have got, and it’s surprising to read how many of the things grown in the Southern US can also be grown in Northern England…).

Anyway, this is a post about cooking, rather than growing, but give yourself some brownie points if you’ve grown your own squash!

As usual, it’s a very flexible recipe that you can adapt to your own tastes and to use ingredients you might already have in the kitchen (or garden).



Ingredients

1 1/2 cups butter beans, soaked overnight

1 butternut squash (or other squash, or winter vegetables such as carrots and parsnip would also be good – as always, use what you’ve got before buying fresh)

1 tsp each of sage,┬árosemary,┬áthyme (fresh if you’ve got it in the garden, or dried from Another Weigh)

2 tsp bouillon stock

2-3 garlic cloves (if desired)

2 tbsp olive oil

(Serves 3 – 4)







Method

Preheat the oven to 200*C and prepare your squash/veggies, peeling (if desired) and chopping to smallish bitesized chunks. Place on a baking sheet, and drizzle with the olive oil. Peel and chop the garlic (if using), and add this to the baking sheet. Use your hands to mix it all around and ensure the oil covers everything. Sprinkle a little salt over it all, and pop it in the oven.

Meanwhile, rinse the soaked butter beans, and add them to a saucepan. Cover with water, and bring to the boil. You can always add more water later, so just make sure the beans are well-covered for now.

(As with any recipe using dried beans, don’t forget to soak your beans ahead of time. Keeping a meal plan can be a big help in remembering to do this, with the added benefit of helping to plan your shopping and reduce food waste. Win win!)

Add the bouillon stock to the beans, along with the herbs. Turn down the heat to a simmer, place the lid on the saucepan (at a jaunty angle if you please), and have a little sit down while you enjoy the lovely aroma of roasting garlic and herby broth.

Keep an eye on the water level in the soup pan – if the beans start to peek up out of the water, add some more to keep them covered.

After 30 – 40 minutes, the squash/veggies will be beautifully roasted and the beans will be cooked. Transfer the squash/veggies into the soup pan and give it a stir.

Serve with a sprinkling of engevita yeast flakes and/or a drizzle of olive oil and freshly ground black pepper, and maybe a dash of smoked paprika. Whatever you fancy! If you’ve got leafy greens to hand, some fresh spinach or chard would go well too, chopped and stirred in at the end of the cooking time.

That’s it – soup’s up!