I’ve made it my mission to use up my home grown dried borlotti beans!
They’re my favourite bean. They’re eye-catching.
And they dry and store really well.
I based this soup on a Diana Henry recipe but I only put in half the winter squash/pumpkin and used arborio rice instead of farro or spelt – because that was all I had to hand. I guess you could also use cooked pearl barley instead.
I used half of one of my Turk’s Turban squash. It’s the first time I’ve cooked with one and I was shocked to find out how impenetrable the skin is.
Usually I leave my favourite thin skinned Hokkaido squash unpeeled but this rogue needed pre baking in the oven for ten or so minutes before I could cut the skin off and render it edible!
It tastes delicious though and I may grow them again as they are pretty and a good size for a small household.
I added twigs of thyme and a couple of bay leaves to flavour the soup which I then removed.
Diana suggests sage leaves fried in a little olive oil or fresh chopped parsley.
450gramspumpkin or winter squash, discard the seeds and peel if the skin is tough before cutting into small cubes
1tindrained borlotti beans or 300g of cooked borlottis
3sprigsfresh thyme or 1/2 tsp of dried thyme
1litrevegetable stock I use marigold bouillon powder
50grams arborio rice or spelt grain or farro
2tbspchopped parsley or eight whole sage leaves fried until crisp in olive oil
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan and add finely chopped onion, pumpkin cubes and diced celery. Cook until the vegetables have a little colour then add a splash of water and some salt and pepper - cover the pan and let the vegetables cook over a low heat for five minutes.
Add the tomato purée, stock, rice (or spelt grain/farro) and bay leaves. Simmer for about 20 minutes (or until the grains are cooked), adding the beans five minutes before the end. Check for seasoning.
If using sage, fry the leaves whole in a little olive oil - be careful they crisp up quickly and can burn easily. Then add to soup. If you prefer parsley add it directly to the soup. Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on top.
Sweet and sour sauce for stir fries or as a condiment on sandwiches or salads
3kgdamson plums, washed and de-stalked
2 1/2cups (UK)brown sugar
3cups (UK)white or cider vinegar
2mediumsweet potatoes (roasted whole and skinned)
1tbspfinely grated fresh ginger
3/4tspsichuan pepper or dried chillies
Stew the damsons in a large preserving pan or saucepan with only the water that they have clinging to them after being washed. Stir frequently to prevent them sticking on the bottom of the pan. This should only take 20 mins to 1/2 and hour.
In stages, pour the stewed damsons into large food mill and push through - removing the stones as you go. I used my bare fingers as I found gloves stopped me from picking them out cleanly. I just rinsed my hands between times.
You should now have a large pot of damson puree to which you add the sugar and vinegar and bring to a slow simmer.
While this is brewing, roast your whole spices in a dry pan watching carefully to avoid burning. Then crush roughly in a mortar and pestle before tying securely in a piece of muslin.
Add the muslin to the damsons along with the juice of the ginger - use your hand to squeeze it firmly - you should be left with the dryish pulp which you can add to your compost.
Season with the salt and cook for an hour or so. Then remove the spices in the muslin and add the roasted sweet potato flesh.
Remove from the heat and puree preferably with a stick blender. Bring back to a simmer and then remove from the heat.