Giant Bean (Butter Bean) Soup
Gigantes (Giant Beans)...aka butter beans as we call them in Cyprus live up to their name. They are giant in size and so butter in flavour. These beans are my absolute favourite and we enjoyed them growing up regularly. There is many ways my mom made them, yaxni which means in a tomato stew baked in the oven, cooked with a drizzle of olive oil, lemon and fresh parsley, as a dip, in salads and this comforting soup. We always enjoyed it vegetarian but for those of you who would like added protein, sausage or chicken can be added. You can add the sausage or the chicken with the tomato paste and continue cooking until the sausage and
chicken are no longer pink. With all the local winter veggies in season and the cooler weather, this is a perfect remedy to comfort you!
3 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 medium carrots, scrubbed, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 large celery stalks, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
celery leaves, roughly chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 litre low sodium vegetable stock
3 - 14 oz (400 g) cans butter beans, white beans or cannellini beans, rinsed
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/3 cup fresh flat leaf Italian parsley, thinly chopped
dried chilies (optional)
leftover day old bread, cut into 1/4 inch thick strips
olive oil for drizzling
To make crostini, preheat oven to 400F and place your oven rack in the centre. Place bread in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder. Toss to mix. Place on large baking sheet ensuring bread does not overlap. Bake until bread is golden and crispy. Turn bread over for even cooking.
In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, celery and celery leaves. Sauté for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally until slightly soft and onions translucent. Mix in tomato paste and cook for 1-2 minutes until aromatic. Pour in vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-6 minutes to allow the vegetables to further soften. Add in beans and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for an additional 10 mins.
Serve topped with fresh parsley, chilies (optional) and crostini or crust bread.