Make use of those excess French Beans in this tasty soup which freezes particularly well. Easy to cook and made simpler with our step by step pictures.
350g / 12½oz French Beans (also called fine or filet beans)
1 medium (approx. 250g / 9oz) potato
1 medium onion
4 medium ripe tomatoes
3 garlic cloves
1 litre / 1.75 pints vegetable stock - fresh or water and two stock cubes
2 tablespoons tomato puree concentrate
5 tablespoons white wine (optional, can use water instead)
1 level teaspoon dried / 2 teaspoons fresh basil
1 level teaspoon dried / 2 teaspoons fresh oregano
3 tablespoons olive oil
To taste salt and pepper
Top and tail the onion and then peel it and roughly chop.
The two remaining methods of acquiring French Beans are to grow them yourself or be given some grown by a friend. In season, many vegetable gardeners produce a massive glut of French Beans. The problem is what to do with such a huge amount of beans?
Some claim that par-boiling and then freezing them results in frozen French Beans which taste delicious when cooked at a later date. It's just not true, the flavour and texture of French beans is impaired by freezing, home freezing especially. Try a blind tasting of frozen and fresh French beans side by side and the difference is immediately apparent.
Leaving the beans unpicked is no solution either, they just grow larger and the result is an even weightier crop. And large French beans are not as tender as young small ones. The solution? Make this French bean soup and freeze it - this soup really does freeze well. And it matters not one jot how large or small the beans are.
Add the chopped onions to the large pan with the olive oil on a lowish heat.
Let the onions fry gently for 12 minutes turning every few minutes to ensure they are evenly cooked. You want the onions to be softened during this cooking time but don't let them turn brown.STEP 2
Add the potato, French beans, tomatoes, tomato puree, stock, and white wine to the onions and bring them to a boil.
Now turn down the heat to low and cook the soup on a low heat (just simmering) for 45 minutes stirring a couple of times.STEP 3
Add the garlic, basil and oregano to the soup and then pour it into a food liquidiser - you will probably need to do this in two separate lots. Liquidise for a minute or so.
Pour back into the pan and reheat for a minute or so. Garnish with herbs (parsley is good) if you have any.
I just fry the onions and throw all the ingredients into my basic soup maker. Simple, easy and delicious :-)