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This is a soup of deep, earthy flavours. All the ingredients are chopped by hand to retain their individual qualities. I love the combination of ingredients in this soup and how they balance together: acidity in the tomatoes with the slight nutty and creamy borlotti beans, the sweetness in the carrots, the scent of the porcini and the deep green softness of the cavolo nero leaves. Very importantly, a good slug of peppery, new seasons green olive oil gives the soup the perfect kick to finish with.

+ Ingredients

15g good-quality dried porcini mushrooms (look for porcini slices that are intact, not bitty, crushed pieces in the packet)
1 celery heart, darker green outer stems removed until you reach the paler stems
1 x 400g tin of borlotti beans, drained and rinsed under cold running water, or 150g dried borlotti beans, covered with cold water in a bowl with 1tsp of bicarbonate soda and soaked overnight
1 sprig of fresh sage (optional)
1 tomato
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small to medium-sized red onion, peeled and finel
2 medium sized carrots, washed or peeled, ends trimmed, roughly chopped
1 small dried red chilli, crushed

1 tbsp fresh garden thyme leaves stripped from the stems, washed and dried

+ Method

The porcini slices are kept intact unless they are very large, in which case you may want to tear them in half.

The cavolo nero, added towards the end of the cooking, needs to be de-stalked and shredded into small-enough pieces so that it doesnt trail out your mouth in a half “witted sort of way as you eat-bear in mind that it also shrinks when cooked.

The celery and carrots need to be cut and chopped in such a way that they remain identifiable but are still small enough to sit on a spoon and share the space with the other ingredients. You want a little bit of everything in each mouthful. The dried porcini, depending on their age and quality, can be either over-strong or delicate in flavour - the difference will have a huge effect on the taste of the soup.

Serves 6

Photography copyright Laura Edwards