Cannellini bean and leek soup with chilli oil
4 medium leeks, trimmed (white and pale green part only)
1 tablespoon olive oil
15g butter (can substitute with oil to keep vegan)
A few sprigs of thyme, leaves only, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1.3 litres vegetable stock
2 x 400g tins cannellini beans, drained and rinsed or 3 cups of dry beans
A handful of oregano, roughly chopped
A bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the chilli oil
4 red chillies, deseeded and sliced
200ml olive oil
A few sprigs of thyme, leaves only
1 garlic clove (unpeeled), bashed
First, make the chilli oil. Put the chillies in a small saucepan with the olive oil, thyme leaves and unpeeled garlic clove. Heat slowly until the oil is simmering very, very gently and cook the chillies until soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool.
For the soup, chop & fry off onions in oil and one teaspoon of salt. Halve the leeks lengthways, wash well and slice thinly. Add the leeks, with the thyme and bay leaf, and sweat gently, stirring from time to time, for about 15 minutes, until very soft. Add the garlic and stir for a minute.
Add the stock and cannellini beans, the oregano and half the parsley. Season with salt and plenty of pepper, increase the heat and bring to a simmer. Cook gently for 20 minutes.
Remove the bay leaf, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary and stir in the rest of the parsley. Serve in warmed bowls with a trickle of chilli oil over the top.