leek and butterbean soup

spring leeks
A versatile recipe, one that can be used in several ways, is a thing of beauty and this soup recipe is one of the fairest of them all. While butter beans may not sound very promising, it is their bland mushiness that makes a perfect base for a soup that zings with flavour, even in the middle of winter. 

This soup is full of flavour; the tartness of the lemon and vinegar or verjuice makes it quite refreshing too. If you use all the green bits from the leek, this soup is the most tantalising lemony green colour. Really rather beautiful.

It's versatility comes in that it as a soup it is delicious both hot and cold, so as good as a winter warmer as a summer cooler. By accident, I once simmered the soup right down to a thick sauce and used then it as a sauce for a salmon or sea trout fillet. It was delicious and I would urge you to try it!

Serves 6-8
Skill level: Easy

150g dried butter beans (or 1 x can, drained and rinsed)
900ml water for soaking dried beans
900ml water for boiling dried beans
3 x leeks
1 x carrot
50g butter
900ml vegetable stock (or could use the water left after cooking the beans – I prefer not to as it can be a bit "gunky". Instead I use a light powdered vegetable stock such as Marigold)
40g fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
juice of ½ lemon
1 tbsp white wine vinegar or verjuice (this can be found in Sainsburys, produced by a fabulous Australian chef and food writer called Maggie Beer)
salt and freshly ground pepper
4 tbsp natural yoghurt / single cream (optional)


  1. If using dried beans, soak them in water overnight, then drain and rinse well. (I tend to change the water a couple of times during the duration of soaking for no other reason except I find the smell of soaking beans a bit revolting and I believe it helps to remove any toxins.
  2. When ready to cook, bring to boil in fresh water and boil rapidly for 10 minutes, in order to destroy any toxins in them. 
  3. Turn the heat down to a simmer, partially cover the pan and cook for a further 40 to 45 minutes, until the beans are soft. 
  4. When cooked, drain and reserve the cooking liquid, if using later in place of stock. Or now drain and rinse the tin of canned butter beans if using. 
  5. Wash and slice the leeks. 
  6. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and cook the leeks and carrot gently for 4 to 5 minutes. 
  7. Add the drained beans and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  8. Add the stock, bring to the boil and then simmer in a covered pan for 20 minutes. 
  9. Stir in the parsley if using. 
  10. Allow the soup to cool slightly, before puréeing. (I also tend to then put the soup through a sieve to ensure a finer texture). 
  11. Return the puréed soup to a clean saucepan. 
  12. Reheat the soup gently, adding the lemon juice and vinegar or verjuice (to taste, depending how sharp you like your flavours). 
  13. Season generously with salt and freshly ground pepper. (You will probably need a bit more salt than you would usually use). 
  14. Pour the hot soup into bowls and garnish with a swirl of natural yoghurt or single cream. 
  • Reduce the soup down to a thick sauce and spoon over baked or poached fish such as salmon or sea trout. 


      Dom at Belleau Kitchen said...

      I have a thing for butterbeans at the moment, so will defo be making this... and I love the inclusion of the lemon, bet it really pep's this up!... thanks for the recipe

      Bridgett said...

      This sounds so comforting. I love your picture too.

      Northern Snippet said...

      I really like butter beans and all other types of bean in soup as, you say they make a really good base.Particularly in Mediterranean style soups.

      mangocheeks said...

      I have to admit this sounds really good, I like how butter beans melt in soupy dishes.

      Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

      I love butterbeans and I love leeks! What a nice marriage of the two of them. Thank you for sharing this recipe, I'll be sure to make it!

      If you have some time, pleas come by for tea and dessert, it's sinful! Have a lovely day!


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