Spring Green Minestrone with Broad Beans and Asparagus

A Spring minestrone to help celebrate all this green.

Ingredients

1-2 large handfuls broad beans
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 leek, or several baby leeks
several spring onions
1 bunch asparagus
2 tins cannellini beans, 400gm or equivalent dry beans, cooked
1L vegetable stock
chives
parsley, to serve
pecorino or parmesan, to serve

Method

This is like liquid gold – gently waking up the winter digestion with the lighter and brighter offerings of a new season.  Put any good green things in here.  Asparagus, obviously.  Broad beans (your own, or the Joe’s Garden ones in your Fair Food delivery).  And why not a few sprouting broccoli stems, some radishes or spring garlic.  C’mon, get in to the season.

This recipe is adapted from ‘Eat’, the wonderfully helpful collection of quickish meals written by Nigel Slater.  He’s always making these favourite things.  This soup can be even more substantial by cooking a handful of pasta or rice with the stock, and go for quality with the stock too – use your own homemade broth or the best quality one you can buy.  Yay, spring!

 

Spring Green Minestrone with Broad Beans and Asparagus

Thickly slice the leeks and braise in a saucepan with olive oil, so they soften slowly without crisping up at all.  A lid helps by encouraging a little steam, but just check periodically that they’re not getting too brown.  Nigel also includes spring onions here.  You could pop shallots, celery, spring garlic or brown onions in there as well.

Meanwhile pod the broad beans and trim the asparagus.  If you have really young broad bean pods, you can eat them whole.  Alternatively if they’re older and really big, you might want to pod and blanch them first then take off the outer layer which gets thick and leathery in older beans.

Once the leeks (and other alliums) are soft, add the rinsed cannellini beans and vegetable stock, bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer.  Add the asparagus and the broad beans and chives.  They’ll only need a minute to become bright green and ready to eat.  To serve, stir in lots of chopped parsley, with fresh pecorino or parmesan on top. 

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