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white bean and leek soup with smoked paprika

February 13, 2013

Serves 4-5
Prep time: 45 minutes


My older daughter likes telling the bean soup joke, so I made this today to humour her.  My younger daughter, who is weaning, ate it up by the fistful and ended up with long strands of spring greens plastered across her face like warpaint.

Afterwards I was a bit embarrassed when I realised that this recipe bears a resemblance to one in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Veg Every Day that’s finished with chilli oil.  My apologies to Hugh – I am obviously such a big fan that I have internalised the whole book.



Olive oil, 1 tbsp
2 large leeks, finely shredded
2 garlic cloves, minced
Fresh thyme, a few sprigs
White potatoes, 450g, peeled and cut into 1cm dice
Bay leaves, 1 fresh or 2 dried
Cannellini beans, 1 400g can
White wine, 175ml
Vegetable stock, 1 litre
Spring greens, 75g, finely shredded
Salt and pepper

To garnish:
Good quality extra virgin olive oil
Smoked paprika

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and add the leeks, garlic and a good pinch of pepper.  Sweat for about five minutes over a medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Add the potatoes, thyme and bay.  Fry for a further five minutes, stirring gently.  Add the wine and turn the heat up.  After a minute or so add the stock.  Bring to the boil and turn down to a simmer.

After 10 minutes test the potatoes.  If they are about three-quarters ready, with a bit of a bite still in them, add the greens and beans.

Simmer for a further 8-10 minutes until the greens and potatoes are ready.  Remove the bay leaves.  Check seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

To serve, ladle into large soup bowls.  Drizzle with good quality extra virgin.  Sprinkle over a pinch of smoked paprika – the powder will bloom into a pretty pattern over the soup’s surface.  Eat with good bread.

  1. We’ve been having a bit of a smoked paprika craze in my home as of late. This is a perfect fit!

  2. I’ve just discovered the wonder that is a leek! Mild but flavorful and full of great nutrition

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