A warming and filling bean soup for chilly afternoons…


PREPARATION TIME: 20 minutes, plus soaking the beans overnight and making the stock

COOKING TIME: 1½ hours



  • 200g/7oz/1 cup dried butter/lima beans
  • 2 tbsp fruity extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • 4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced and rinsed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1.4l/48fl oz/6 cups Vegetable Stock (see page 12) or ready-made stock
  • 1 small handful of sage and ½ celery stalk with its leaves, tied together
  • 1 heel of Parma ham/prosciutto (see page 9; optional)
  • ¼ head Savoy cabbage, cored and shredded
  • 85g/3oz/½ cup chopped green beans
  • 85g/3oz/½ cup shelled broad/fava beans, peeled if not young and tender
  • 1 handful of baby spinach leaves
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper pesto, to serve (optional)


  1. Put the butter/lima beans in a bowl, cover with water and leave to soak overnight, then drain.
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan over a mediumheat. Stir in the garlic, leek and onion, reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, for 10–12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened but not coloured. Stir in the butter/lima beans and stock, cover and bring to the boil. Skim, then reduce the heat, stir in the sage and ham heel, if using, and simmer, covered, for 40 minutes–1 hour until tender.
  3. Remove the ham heel and set aside until cool enough to handle. Add the cabbage, green beans and broad/fava beans to the pan and simmer, uncovered, for 10–12 minutes until all the beans are tender. Stir in the spinach and simmer for another 1 minute until the leaves wilt.
  4. Remove the meat from the ham heel, shred it into small pieces and set aside. Season the soup with salt and pepper, but remember the ham heel will have been salty. Serve with the ham sprinkled over the top, if used. Add a dollop of pesto to each portion, if using, and serve with olive oil on the side for drizzling.

Credits: Extracted from I Love Soup by Beverly LeBlanc © Beverly LeBlanc 2016 published by Nourish Books, London. Paperback, £12.99

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