Broad Bean and Potato Soup

So, regular readers of this blog (and I thank you!) will know that here in Andalucía we tend not to waste much when it comes to food. All the unsual bits get used from the meat we eat, and even our broad beans shells, when they´re young and tender, get used in tortillas, scrambled eggs and cooked with jamon.

Another Andalucían dish using broad beans is called Cazulea de Habas which translates as a broad bean stew. As ever, I asked around for recipes and this time I tended to get pretty much the same replies from everyone.  An exceedingly simple and humble dish. Well, a little dull if I´m being truly honest, but that is just my opinion. I asked Big Man if he was sure he wanted me to make it, as it had been his idea in the first place. Well, he said, maybe you can give it a little Chica Andaluza touch to make it more exciting. So I did.

It´s still a simple and humble dish, but with some nice flavours going on and more filling than its ancestor. I also have some suggestions for making it your own, so here goes.

Ingredients to serve 4

  • 500g of thinly sliced tender broad bean shells (save the beautiful beans for something more glamorous)
  • One medium potato per person, peeled and cut into rough 2cm chunks (this is not included in the original recipe)
  • One medium onion finely chopped
  • A large spring of fresh mint and a bay leaf
  • Water
  • Pinch of saffron or half a teaspoon of turmeric (here they use colouring…eek!)
  • ½ teaspoon of sweet pimentón
  • ½ teaspoon of hot pimentón (optional, not in the original recipe, but I used it)
  • 3 fat cloves of garlic peeled and halved lengthways
  • About 10 peeled, raw almonds
  • A large slice of day old bread (something like sourdough or ciabatta)
  • Olive oil for shallow frying
  • Seasoning

Put the bean shells, onion, mint and bay leaf in a pot and cover well with water. Boil until the shells are really tender (this can take about 30 minutes, so be patient). About 20 minutes into the cooking add the potato. Meanwhile fry the garlic and almonds until browned, put into a blender jug. Now fry the slice of bread on both sides until browned and also add to the blender jug. Add the saffron and pimentón and a large ladleful of the cooking water from the beans. Blend (I use a stick blender) until you have a smooth sauce. Add to the beans and season. I found it needed quite a lot of salt.

Now, you´re done! However, you could serve it with a softly poached egg on top or some pieces of grilled chorizo or morcilla (blood pudding), although it will obviously no longer be a vegetarian dish.

It´s a simple dish, but a lovely starter using seasonal vegetables or with a few additions could be a hearty main dish for two.

Big Man approved the changes, and we agreed that the Chica Andaluza version was much more tasty than the original!

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