Rachel Allen’s Bacon and Bean Broth

  • 225g (8 oz) dried haricot or cannellini beans
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 200g bacon, cut into lardons about 1 x 2 cms (1/2 x 1/4 in)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 ltr 1 3/4 pt) chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 225g (8oz) curley kale, stalks removed and sliced thinly
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh parsley
  • Soak the beans in plenty of cold water for about 6 hours or overnight.
  •   Drain the beans and place in a large pan with the bay leaf, onion and carrot. Cover with fresh cold water and place on a medium heat. Bring to a simmer and continue to simmer for about 45 to 60 minutes, or until tender the beans should squash easily against the pan if pressed with a spoon.
  •   Meanwhile, add the olive oil to a large flameproof casserole dish and place on a medium high heat. Add the bacon and cook for a few minutes until golden. Next add the garlic and cook, stirring continuously for a minute or so until golden, then add the tomatoes, stock, sugar, salt and pepper and simmer for 10 minutes.
  •   Drain the beans and discard the carrot, onion and bay leaf. Add the cooked beans to the stew along with the kale and cook for a further 4 minutes until the kale is cooked. Stir in the herbs, then taste for seasoning and serve.