White Bean, Chorizo and Cavolo Nero Soup
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion – halved and thinly sliced
- ½ tsp crushed dried chillies
- 225g dried white beans, such as haricot or cannellini – soaked overnight
- 200g smoked dry-cured bacon lardons
- 225g spicy cooking chorizo – skinned and sliced
- 3 large garlic cloves – crushed
- 1 medium-hot green chilli – stalk removed and thinly sliced
- 650g peeled floury potatoes, such as King Edwards – cut into small chunks
- 600ml light chicken or vegetable stock
- 250g cavolo nero leaves – washed
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in the casserole. Add the onion and crushed dried chillies, cover and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes until soft but not browned. Scoop half the onion and chilli mixture into a small bowl and set to one side.
Drain the soaked beans and add them to the pan with 1litre of fresh cold water. Bring to a simmer, part-cover and cook gently for 45 minutes – 1 hour until the beans are tender. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, simmer for a further 5 minutes, then tip them into a colander set over a bowl to collect the cooking liquid. Measure this and make up to 600ml with water if necessary. If more, return it to the pan and boil until it has reduced to the required amount. Set to one side with the onions.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the cleaned casserole. Add the bacon lardons and fry for 3 minutes until lightly browned. Add the chorizo sausage and fry for another 1- 2 minutes until these too are lightly browned. Add the garlic and green chilli and fry gently for another minute, make sure that the garlic does not brown.
Stir in the reserved fried onion and chillies, the potatoes, bean cooking liquid, stock, ½ teaspoon of salt and some pepper. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes until the potatoes are almost soft.
Meanwhile, slice the green leaves of the cavolo nero away from either side of the thin stalks. Discard the stalks, bunch up the leaves and slice them across into 2.5cm wide strips.
Stir the cabbage into the soup, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Uncover, stir in the cooked beans and simmer for another 2 – 3 minutes until the cabbage leaves are tender, the beans have heated through and the potatoes are just beginning to break apart. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and serve sprinkled with some chopped flat leaf parsley.