Based on a Greek bean dish called Gigantes Plaki, this soup is really hearty and filling but still manages to taste a bit summery – always welcome on a wintery walk. The feta and olive ‘sprinkles’ are optional but they are really easy to knock up and lift the whole thing to another level.
Serves 4-6, freezes well (minus garnish)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 3 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 x 400g tins butterbeans, drained and rinsed
- 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 500ml vegetable stock
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- For the garnish (optional)
- 200g feta cheese, crumbled
- a handful of pitted kalamata olives, chopped
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- small bunch of fresh oregano, leaves picked and chopped
1. Add the oil, onion and celery to a large heavy-based pan and set over a medium low heat, softening gently for about
20 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaves, oregano and cinnamon, stirring well to mix and cook for a further five minutes.
2. Stir through the butterbeans, tomatoes and tomato puree and pour in the vegetable stock. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and bring to the boil. Simmer steadily, uncovered, for about 20 minutes until the tomatoes have cooked down and the soup has reduced to a good, thick consistency.
3. Pour into food flasks while piping hot, or chill ready for reheating on your walk. Make the garnish by stirring together
the feta, olives, lemon zest, garlic and oregano and pack into a small tub ready to sprinkle over as you are eating.