Wednesday, 26 September 2007

White bean and chorizo soup

Dinner at a friend's home is usually tricky if you have any kind of allergy or intolerance. People forget which particular things you can't eat or can't conceive of cooking without something as fundamental as pasta or butter. So when friends not only cook for you but remember what you can't eat without a battery of questions and produce a fantastic three course meal, it's a very rare and enjoyable thing. And so it was last night. A couple we know invited us round for dinner and served up white bean and chorizo soup, roasted duck and meringue sitting on a vanilla infused rhubarb compote. The soup came from a recipe by Australian chef Bill Grainger and it produced a soft, creamy soup.

1 tsp olive oil
1 chorizo sausage (about 150g/5½oz),chopped
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 celery sticks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp paprika
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 litre/2 pints chicken stock
2 x 400g/14oz tins cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over high heat and cook the chorizo for 3-4 minutes until crisp. Drain on kitchen paper.
2. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the onion and celery to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-7 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, thyme and paprika and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and cook for another minute.
3. Return 3/4 of the chorizo to the pan with the stock and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for ten minutes. Add the beans and cook for another five minutes.
4. Blitz the soup in the blender and then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
5. Scatter the remaining chorizo on the soup before serving. A drizzle of olive oil finishes it off nicely.

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