It is that time of year again… broad bean time! It makes me so happy! Last year around this time, on one of the hottest days of the year, I made a memorable soup with broad beans. Fresh tarragon gave it a very surprising taste. I didn’t know soup could taste like that! Fresh, salty, green… with a little ‘zing’ from lime zest and juice, complemented by the deep anise-like taste of terragon… so different from the flavours I was used to, but so utterly delicious!
I used my fingers to clean my bowl, I really did. Yes, I even dare to admit that online, hoping it convinces you to give this recipe a try too. Soup is a tasty dish all year round, of course, but this recipe is very suitable to the summer season, you can even eat it cold, which is just as amazing.
This recipe was the first I tried from Sarah Britton’s, a Canadian food nutritionist and blogger, currently living in Denmark, whom I became a huge fan of afterwards. My New Roots was the cook book I took the recipe from, and it was her very first book. Sarah Britton manages to create super healthy and very tasty plant-based recipes, with plenty of vitamins and proteins, and – above all – manages to explain her food philosophy very clearly. The only negative remarks My New Roots received was that it was rather too good, or rather, too exclusive: some of the ingredients Sarah used were hard to get by in regular super markets, as they would only be available in organic supermarkets, and that would influence their price too…
But Sarah attentively listened to her fans, and this year she published a wonderful new cook book with ingredients you can by in almost any store. It’s called Naturally Nourished. It’s recipes are a bit more simple as well, which makes it more accessible to cooks that aren’t so familiar with plant-based cooking yet. I myself find My New Roots a bit more inspiring, because I noticed that most of the recipes from Naturally Nourished were already in my repertoire, in some form or the other, as I am cooking many vegetarian/vegan dishes for over 10 years now. If you’re interested, please also visit her blog: www.mynewroots.org
But to come back to the topic: broad beans! This year the start of the broad bean season was extra special to me, because for the first time, I grew them myself! On my balcony =) My plants produced too few to make the soup (see pictures below), so I ate them just slightly cooked, with some (vegan) butter and sage. Yet I really recommend trying the soup! Here’s the recipe. You can make it with frozen broad beans, or frozen garden peas, if you like. But at least really try to get your hands on some fresh tarragon: it is really worth it!
Broad bean & pea soup with fresh tarragon
Ingredients (serves 4, preparation time approx. 1 hour)
- 250 grams broad beans, shelled (frozen is fine, but fresh is always better) NB: if you don’t have or don’t want to use broad beans, you can also double the amount of garden peas!
- 250 grams garden peas, shelled (frozen is just fine!)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil to fry in
- 2 medium onions (white), finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 675 ml vegetable stock
- a large handful of fresh tarragon
- 1 tablespoon (fresh) lemon juice
- zest of ½ organic lemon
- olive oil to sprinkle
- if using broad
- a bowl of ice cubes (I bought them at a supermarket, ready-made)
Fill a large bowl up with water and ice cubes and put it to the side. Bring a large pan of water with quite some salt in it to the boil, then add the broad beans (they can still be frozen). When the water starts boiling again (if you use frozen broad beans this can take a little while), let the beans cook for about 2 mins. Then quickly scoop them up from the pan and put them in the ice water straightaway. Let them cool down for 5-10 mins, then pour the water. Carefully squeeze the innermost beans from their shell and put them to the side. You will not need the shells anymore. Please compost :)
In a frying pan, heat the oil and add the chopped onions and a pinch of salt. Fry the onions for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic for another 1 to 2 minutes, until golden. After that, add the vegetable stock and the broad beans (if you like, you can keep a few separate to use as a garnish). Bring the stock to the boil and let the soup simmer for about 10 minutes until the beans are thoroughly tender. Then add the frozen garden peas and cook them along for another 2-3 minutes until they are fresh and green (please make sure you start counting the minutes, after the water is back to the boil).
Mix the soup with a blender. Add half of the tarragon, the lemon juice and the lemon zest. Mix until you get a smooth, creamy soup. Keep adding the rest of the tarragon and some extra salt, until you like the taste (keep mixing in the tarragon!). Pour in bowls and garnish with some cooked broad beans and some fresh tarragon, as well as a few sprinkles of olive oil.
Try it, it tastes… [I’m gonna have you experience this for yourselves]! Buon appetito ;)