Leek, Potato, Cavolo Nero & Cannellini bean soup
This soup is a staple in our house. It is essentially an adaptation of a classic potato, leak and rocket recipe my mum put us on to from Elizabeth David and the traditional potato and leak soup recipe from Maria's childhood. We added Cavolo Nero and cannellini beans to make it heartier and (even) more comforting. In colder months we make it about once a week, as it can be prepared so quickly and is exactly what you need when it is raining outside. There are two ways to make this soup, and both are good. Below is the long way, which is certainly the way you would make it if friends were coming around. However, dried beans can easily be replaced with drained tinned cannellini beans and a good quality stock cube can replace the broth and/or bean water.
- 2 large leeks
- 1 bunch of cavolo nero
- 5 waxy potatoes (we tend to use the dutch or desiree)
- 100-200g of dried cannellini beans
- Soak overnight, cook on a low simmer for 1-2 hrs with a few bay leaves and peppercorns. When in doubt, always go for slightly undercooked as the alternative is mushy beans.
- 1.5 litres of vegetable or chicken stock
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley
Thinly slice the leek and sweat in a large cast iron pot at a low heat. When the leeks begin to become translucent add the chopped garlic and half of the bunch of parsley, finely chopped. Continue to sweat until they just start to take on colour. Remove the cavolo nero from the stalk, wash and roughly chop. Add to the leek mixture and cook for another 5 minutes. While the cavolo nero is slightly wilting, peel and chop the potatoes into smallish cubes. Add to the pot and fry for another 2-3 minutes. Then add the stock and/or reserved cooking liquor from the beans.
At this stage the soup should be quite liquid. Cook for 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender and puree a small portion of the soup. We use a Braun hand blender, but you could also a liquidiser or magimix. The important thing is to puree only a quarter, otherwise it will very quickly lose it's mix of textures.
Finally add the cooked beans and cook for another 10-15 minutes. To serve, chop up some fresh parsley, drizzle with a peppery olive oil and grate some fresh parmesan. A good slice of toasted sourdough is also always appreciated.