Chickpea, chard and porcini soup
This is a really lovely, hearty, big-flavoured soup, underpinned by the earthiness of porcini mushrooms. You could use tinned white beans, such as cannellini, in place of the chickpeas, and kale or spring greens instead of the chard or spinach.
Soak the porcini in about 750ml warm water for 30 minutes. Remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon, reserving the soaking water. Rinse the mushrooms briefly under the cold tap (they can be gritty) and pat dry with kitchen paper. Roughly chop them.
Strain the mushroom soaking liquid through a sieve lined with muslin or kitchen paper into a bowl.
Heat the butter and olive oil in a saucepan over a medium-low heat and sweat the onion, stirring from time to time, for about 15 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and stir for a minute, then add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, for another couple of minutes.
Add the passata or the tomatoes with their juice, chickpeas, rosemary, reserved mushroom soaking liquid and a few grinds of black pepper.
Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer gently for about 45 minutes. Add the shredded chard or spinach and cook for a further 8–10 minutes for chard, just 2–3 minutes for spinach.
If the soup seems too thick, thin it slightly with a little water. Discard the rosemary. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
Ladle into warm bowls, trickle over some olive oil and use a vegetable peeler to shave a few slivers of hard cheese over the top, if you like. Serve at once.
- 30g dried porcini mushrooms
- 30g butter (optional)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 400g passata or a 400g tin plum tomatoes, chopped, any stalky ends and skin removed
- 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 300g chard or spinach, shredded
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Well-flavoured hard cheese (optional)
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Who needs meat? During the River Cottage Veg cookery course you'll learn to turn local, seasonal produce into delicious veggie dishes.