Dried beans and pulses are a pain, in that the majority of them require soaking for a long length of time (overnight usually) before being boiled for between 10 minutes and 2 hours. This process kills off the toxins, and therefore is definately worth doing, but aint half tedious if you're feeling the need for some pulsey protein in your life in a hurry. The end results of the process are, in my experience, mixed. Sometimes they stay rock hard, some times they turn into mush. Sometimes they taste ok, sometimes they taste of absolutely nothing. This is a bit of a bugger, because they're actually really cheap (we're talking about 99p for 1kg dried - that's roughly 99p for 1.5-2kg rehydrated), and incredibly nutritious.
Picture courtesy of DeliaI use tinned butterbeans a lot - they are amazing fried with chorizo and tomatoes, or mashed into a type of Hummus. They thicken sausage and tomato casseroles, and bulk up Chilli Non Carne. However, anyone who has read other recipe's I've done will know that I have a tendency to turn things which I'm not sure about into a) risotto, or b) soup. Unsurprisingly, rehydrated butterbeans are better in b) than a).
Butter bean Soup
250g dehydrated Butter beans
1 large onion
500ml hot stock (Ham stock is amazing in this, if you can get it. Alternatively, Chicken or Veggie will do)
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary.
upto 200ml hot water.
Prepare the butter beans as on the packet (I soaked overnight, then boiled for 10 minutes).
In a large pan, slowly fry the onion in the butter until soft and translucent.
Tip in the butter beans, rosemary and stock. Simmer for 5 minutes until the beans begin to soften and break.
Blend, adding more water as required to desired consistency.
This is a thick soup (think of the texture of Lentil), so smaller portions will be needed than most other vegetarian soups, especially if it's a starter. It is, however, deliciously creamy...
Surprisingly difficult to make soup look attractive in a photoIt's really easy, really cheap, and if you can't be bothered with the dried ones, you could easily substitute 2 tins of drained beans. If you fancy that bacon tang, but can't get hold of ham stock (I used Knorr stuff I had floating around), sprinkling with some crispy bacon bits, or crispy parma ham would be really tasty.