When soup is so easy to make, it does seem a little silly to go for the tinned variety. However sometimes I just want an easy, comforting meal and tinned soup does that for me. I am though, extremely fussy about which ones pass muster. Currently Heinz onion soup, and Baxters carrot and butterbean are the favoured flavours. As with a lot of preprepared foods, tinned soup can be quite expensive, and idly reading the ingredients list on the label one day I thought I would see how close I could get to the bought version of the Baxters, making it from scratch. It took three attempts before I was happy with it, but I think this recipe is just as good. I’ve added a couple more ingredients, as my version contains no oil so needed a little boost for richness. 1 large onion, around 180g prepared
5 medium carrots, around 350g prepared
2 sticks celery, around 150g prepared
1 litre hot light veg stock, I use marigold made to half strength
1/4 tsp fennel powder, I toast fennel seed in a dry pan and then grind it in a pestle and mortar
1/2 tsp celery salt
1 tbsp tomato puree
Pinch of white pepper
1 400g tin butterbeans
1 tsp potato starch, slaked with a little water
Preheat the oven to 150 c, fan 130 c
Chop all the vegetables fairly finely, and put all the ingredients except the butter beans in a large oven proof pot with a lid (I use a 20 cm cast iron casserole). Place in the oven, covered, for 1 hour and 45 minutes, adding the butterbeans after 1 hour.
Using a slotted spoon, scoop around 2/3 of the vegetables out of the stock, trying to get as many of the butterbeans as possible, and reserve. Stir the potato starch into the remaining stock and vegetables, and blend (I use an immersion blender rather than a jug blender here).
Add the reserved vegetables and beans back into the soup and check for seasoning. I find that this soup doesn’t require any extra salt as the stock and celery salt season it nicely.
Makes 4 servings.