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Chorizo and butter bean soup

There are dishes and recipes in every family that just seem to have always been there. Of course though, every dish must have its very first outing. These dishes, at a time that is impossible to pinpoint (maybe it’s when they’ve been consumed a hundred times?) take on a certain… status. This is one of those dishes in my family. I vaguely remember having it the first time about 5 years ago, so it’s a newborn baby in terms of family recipe history, but I just know it will be sticking around for years to come…

The dish belongs to my mother-in-law-to-be, Olive. She makes a vat of this thick soup regularly. I have guessed at the recipe. She uses proper, dried butter beans instead of tinned, and the *result is definitely better if you can pre-plan in this way (you have to soak dried beans for 24 hours and then boil for an hour before using). Doing it with dried beans makes a thicker soup as the beans break down more than tinned. I have used tinned here because I haven’t got the required foresight at the moment to soak beans the night before; I’m more of a impetuous cook than a forward planner with two babies to look after. It’s a great winter warmer that’s very easy to put together. It has a distinctly Spanish flavour, not just because of the chorizo, but the paprika, cumin, and even the beans which the Spanish use a lot. I think, in fact, that she probably made the dish first time in Spain, as they have a house there. I must ask her…

*Please check out my recipe for Chorizo and butter bean stew, a different recipe using dried beans, here!

Serves: 4 adults
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours, 20 minutes

200g of cooking chorizo (you couldn’t really use the pre-sliced deli stuff, you need the chunky proper sausages), chopped into fat coins then halved
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 large glass of white wine
1 tin of butter beans
1 tin of tomatoes, plus the same amount, 1 tin, of chicken stock (put your stock in the can and add boiling water to it in approximate proportions)
1 large potato, chopped into small squares (about 1 inch across)
1 teaspoon of sweet paprika
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
Olive oil, extra virgin, for drizzling
Fresh parsley, roughly chopped, to serve


  1. Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil over a medium heat. Dice your onion and soften for about 10 minutes. 
  2. Add your chorizo and let it seal for 5 minutes. You don’t want it too crispy or frazzled which is how it’s usually enjoyed. 
  3. Throw in your garlic and let it all cook together for 5 more minutes. Sprinkle in your cumin and paprika. 
  4. Then turn up the heat and pour in a good glass of white (or red) wine. 
  5. Add your beans, potatoes, tinned tomatoes and stock, and turn the heat down to a barely there simmer. Cook for at least 2 hours with the lid on. I left it for longer, which didn’t do it any harm. 
  6. When ready to serve, taste and season accordingly. Throw on some roughly chopped parsley, a drizzle of good extra virgin and eat with very crusty bread.
>> Check out more soup recipes!

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