Nettle soup
Chorizo and bean soup with nettles and sourdough toast

This rustic country soup is hearty and warming. I like to use homemade pork stock as it adds a real depth of flavour to the dish. My recipe for chorizo is perfect for this soup, or you can use good-quality or organic shop-bought chorizo, if you can find it. Nettles, which can be picked in spring and then again in the autumn, give this soup a great twist – but when they’re out of season, you can use kale or chard instead.

Serves 
4
Ingredients 

150g dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight in cold water

A dash of good extra virgin olive oil

200g chorizo sausage, sliced into rounds

1 large or 2 smaller onions, peeled and finely sliced

A sprig of rosemary

4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced

1 litre pork stock or chicken stock

4 slices of 2–3-day-old sourdough, or similar good bread

A colander full of young nettle tops, washed and roughly chopped

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method 

Drain the soaked beans and tip them into a saucepan. Cover with fresh water and bring to a simmer, then cook for 45 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside. Warm a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat and add a trickle of olive oil. Add the sliced chorizo and fry for 2–3 minutes to release some of the oil, then add the onion, rosemary, cooked beans and garlic (saving the end bits to rub on your toasts). Season with salt and pepper, then continue to cook, without colouring the onion, for a further 5 minutes. Pour in the stock, stir well, and then bring to a low simmer. Simmer gently for 15–20 minutes. Meanwhile, toast the pieces of sourdough on each side, trickle with olive oil, rub with the reserved garlic and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Add the nettle tops to the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning. To serve, ladle the soup into large soup plates or bowls and serve with the toasted sourdough. Finish with a trickle of extra virgin olive oil, if you like.