Wild garlic, nettle and chorizo soup with Butter beans, toasted sourdough and Barber's cheddar

Wild garlic, nettle and chorizo soup with Butter beans, toasted sourdough and Barber's cheddar
  • Time 35 minutes
  • Serves 2
  • Difficulty Easy
    • 150g of grated Barbers Vintage cheddar cheese
    • 1 x Tin of butter beans
    • Bunch of fresh wild garlic leaves
    • 1 onion finely sliced
    • Bunch of nettles
    • 3 Tbls of olive oil
    • 200g chorizo sausage, sliced into rounds
    • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
    • 1 litre pork or chicken stock
    • Salt and Pepper
    • 4 slices of 2 – 3 day old sourdough, or similar good bread
    1. This gorgeous soup, made with spicy chorizo and finished with a big crunchy slice of Barbers cheddar on toast, is one of my absolute favourites at this time of year. It makes the most of wild garlic and stinging nettles, 2 of my favourite wild plants, and ingredients I believe we should all be cooking and eating more of during their short season. I’m finding wild garlic earlier with each coming year. This wonderful plant, also known as ‘Ramsons’ can be found in the dappled shade of established woodlands, in damp meadows, along stream banks and in shady hedges. When it’s young it’s sweet and its emerald green leaves are unmistakable. You’ll find nettles in similar spots. Not only are they free and abundant, they’re also exceptionally good for you. They’re crammed with vitamins and minerals, which nurture and fortify are bodies, as well as having anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Take only the top four or six leaves from each plant. You’ll need some gloves for picking and washing them but their sting disappears as soon as you drop them into the soup. Drain the soaked beans and tip them into a saucepan. Cover with fresh water and bring to a simmer, then cook for 30 - 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 8 - 10minutes. Pour in the stock, stir well, and then bring to a low simmer. Simmer gently for 15–20 minutes. Add the nettle tops to the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes. Ribbon the wild garlic nice and thinly and stir this into the soup. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning. Meanwhile, grill the pieces of sourdough on each side, trickle with olive oil and rub with the reserved garlic. Heap the grated cheese on each slice of toast and place under the grill until the cheese is bubbling and golden around the edges. To serve, ladle the soup into large soup plates or bowls and serve with the warm cheddar toasts, black pepper and a trickle of olive oil. With thanks to Gill Meller for this recipe.