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Bean soup

Freelance chef Adam Banks draws from a local larder to create dishes that nourish both body and soul.

Serves 3-4


  • Cannellini beans or borlotti beans (preferably dried, soaked overnight)

  • Savoy cabbage or Tuscan kale washed and shredded

  • Pancetta lardons (optional)

  • 2 tbsp tomato purée

  • Day-old sourdough

  • Vegetable stock

  • 1 white onion, peeled and finely sliced

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed and roughly chopped

  • Dried chilli flakes

  • Sage

  • Sunflower oil

  • Extra virgin olive oil


Drain and rinse the soaked beans, add to a pan and generously cover with cold water, add a few sage leaves. Bring to a simmer and cook the beans until soft with a slight bite.

In a separate pan, heat 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil and add the onion and garlic. Sweat them on a medium heat so as not to colour too much. Add the pancetta lardons and begin to fry.

After around 5-10 mins of slowly frying the pancetta to release some of the tasty fat, add two pinches of dried chilli, tomato paste and the cooked beans and stir all together.

Next tear around 150g of day old bread into the pan, add the shredded cabbage and again stir all together. Finally, add enough vegetable stock to just cover the vegetables and bread mixture. Leave to simmer and cook for 35-45 mins. The bread will soak up the vegetable stock so be sure to add more as it cooks to keep liquid in the pan.

When the soup has cooked for about 40 mins, remove from the heat. It should be lovely and thick at this point. Finish the soup with a little salt if needed, a splash of red wine vinegar and a really good glug of extra virgin olive oil.


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