Judy's white bean soup with chilli oil

Judy's white bean soup with chilli oil

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(7 ratings)


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Cooking time

Ready in 1¾ hours, plus overnight soaking

Skill level



Serves 6

Spicy chilli oil provides a perfect foil to the mealiness of the beans in this funky vegetarian soup

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Vegetarian
Nutrition info


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  • 500g dried butter beans
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1.4l hot vegetable stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme, plus extra
  • chilli oil, for drizzling

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  1. Put all the butter beans in a large bowl and cover with plenty of cold water so they have room to swell up. Leave to soak overnight.
  2. Drain the beans. Shuck off and discard the skins by pinching the beans between finger and thumb – it’s a laborious job, but worth it. Put the beans in a colander, rinse and shake off the excess water.
  3. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion and garlic for 1-2 minutes. Tip in the carrots and celery and fry gently for 2-3 minutes. Add the beans, stock, bay and thyme with some pepper, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes, skimming off any scum, until the beans are soft. Cool for 10 minutes, discard the bay and thyme, then whizz the soup in a food processor until smooth. (You will probably have to do this in batches.)
  4. Return the soup to the rinsed pan and bring to the boil. Check for seasoning, then serve with a drizzle of chilli oil and a sprinkling of thyme leaves.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, January 2003

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paulajanejones's picture
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Average, and having the skin all the butter beans was quite a drag.

liezeldutoit's picture
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Definitely not worth it. We had it for dinner and thought is was ok, but nothing special. Froze the rest and heated it up a few weeks later. Something happened during the freezing process and it tasted far too salty, even though I did not add anything.

wilau1's picture

i have been cooking all sorts of beans for soups for over 30 years white beans are my favorite and have never taken skins of and never had any problems either this soup is nice i always add pork and double smoked speck to mine for a non vegetarian soup either way white bean soup is very good on a cold night

avisrapax's picture
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I was dubious, whilst shucking so many beans, whether or not the effort truly was worth it, as suggested by the other commenters and I am happy to say they are completely right. This soup is delicious and subtly wonderful.

sas1uk's picture
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holmfirth's picture

have loads of butter beans left that I had soaked for another recipe, going to use them up on this, it sound delicious mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

dub2dee's picture
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I made it today in preparation for a dinner party I'm having this weekend, and it is so nice I want to eat the whole batch myself right now!

When I was 'shucking' all those beans I thought that there was no way all that effort would be worth the result but it really is.

I will be making this again and again, especially as it can be frozen. Delicious!