Tuscan Bean Soup

by Jenny

January is nearly over and I’m freaking out a little bit. One of my New Year’s Intentions was to take better care of my body, the hope being that I would, of course lose some of my ‘butter weight’. To help cement the idea that this is a lifestyle change not a diet, I decided to only weigh/measure myself once a month, so in a couple of days I’ll know if it has actually made any difference or whether I need to be more extreme.

I was a little dubious about whether to publically chronicle this part of my life, but in the end, by sharing I am holding myself accountable to someone. In no way am I planning on making this a weightloss blog, I like my sweet treats too much, but like in life, I’m hoping for a little more balance.

I like to think that for every thing I miss (junk food) I make up for with the satisfaction of feeling myself get stronger, upping my cardio times and weights. Picking the lower calorie option (like G&T instead of a large wine) is almost becoming second nature, and my freezer is full of homemade meals to curb ordering takeaway.

This is my last soup recipe, it’s been a lot of fun sharing my obsession with pureed vegetables with you during this dreary cold month. To me, this soup conjures up images of the countryside, it’s thick, comforting and packed with herbs for flavour.

Cannellini beans are packed full of protein and fibre which is perfect for after a workout. This recipe takes a little while to prepare as you have to leave it simmering for over an hour but it will keep in the fridge for a couple of days and freezes well.

Tuscan Bean Soup
from Delia Smith’s The Delia Collection Soup
serves 4

225g dried cannellini beans
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion chopped
2 fat garlic cloves crushed
1 stalk celery trimmed and chopped
1 sprig each of parsley, thyme and rosemary
1 bay leaf
1.2l chicken stopck
juice of ½ a lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Leave the beans to soak overnight in twice their volume of cold water, or boil in the same amount volume of water then leave to soak for 2 hours.

Soften the onion in half the oil in a large pan for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and continue to cook for about a minute.

Add the beans, celery, herbs, bay leaf, black pepper and stock and stir well.

Bring to a simmer, then put a lid on it and keep it gently simmering for an hour and a half.

When the time is up check if the beans are tender, if they are not cook for another 15-30 minutes until they are.

Season with salt, leave to cool slightly then blend in two batches.

To serve reheat slowly, without letting it come to a boil. Stir in the lemon juice and the remaining oil then serve.

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