‘The Stewp’ A Stew/Soup Revelation

This is one of my favourite times of the year when I’m reminded of what inspired me to start this blog in the first place. The apples and pears (not in the Cockney rhyming slang sense) are bountiful, I don’t know what to do with all the fruits (literal fruits) of friends’ and family’s labour. But thank you.

I’ve recently found out that the flat I’ll be moving to in the next couple of weeks is part of an urban regeneration scheme, which translates to us having access to an allotment. I’m overjoyed, this time next year I’ll get revenge. I might only grow marrows, one for every person I know, and then carve my friends’ most distinguishing features into them. I’ll wrap them up so they looks like Terry’s chocolate oranges (I’m a deceptively apt wrapper) then Bam! Marrow doppelganger! Yeah, that’ll be great. So watch out… Alternatively, if I don’t know you and you’d like to be sculpted out of marrow, commissions are very welcome.

Enough of my tangential waffling, here’s a recipe that has a minty Springishness about it, yet uses seasonal ingredients and will warm you up nicely. That doesn’t mean you can forget about your slipper socks, y’know, the ones with the grip on the bottom, but you can keep them in the draw for now.

A Beautiful Broth

serves 4

500g (as many as you can carry in two hands) broad beans*

3 medium waxy potatoes

Loads of spinach

1 medium red onion

2 large cloves garlic

750ml vegetable stock/bouillon

A good slosh of extra virgin olive oil

1 massive handful of mint

1 large bay leaf

Salt and pepper

4 slices of smoked streaky bacon (optional)

*readily available at the mo, but frozen can be used at other times of the year. The weight given is pre-shelling. Once shelled, probably only 100g are used.

  1. Shell the beans. Just pop them outs of their pods, gasp in awe at how fluffy the pods are inside and think about how much you’d like to be wrapped up in one. Lucky beans. In seriousness, you can blanch them first to make that a little easier if you like, but with such tender ones, this shouldn’t be an issue.
  2. Dice the potatoes. As in, cut them into cubes about the size of dice.
  3. Slice the onions, not too finely.
  4. Slice the garlic, you can be a little slap-dash here too, if you like, let’s go wild.
  5. Heat the oil.
  6. Sweat the onions and potatoes for 10 mins. Use a nice big pan and don’t let the tatties stick to the base of it.
  7. Add the garlic for one more sweaty minute.
  8. Add the stock and bay leaf.
  9. Heat the grill for the bacon.
  10. Bring the broth to the boil. Imagine you’re using a cauldron.
  11. Start grilling the bacon.
  12. Cover and simmer the broth for 5-10 mins. Making sure the potatoes aren’t too soft.
  13. Add your beans and cook for 5 more mins.
  14. Cram all your spinach into the pan. Doubt that it’s going to wilt down. Sigh when it does.
  15. Season.
  16. Stir in the mint just before ladling, in a witch-like manner, into bowls.
  17. Balance your bacon bits on top.
  18. Voila.

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