A hearty and nutritious soup, this is considered to be the national dish of Greece, the staple food of the army and every poor man’s meal – so great for the crisis! It is usually made at home or at village festivals; do not expect to find it in many restaurants. It can become a substantial meal by adding pieces of pork, bacon or sausage and the kids will love it.
45g (1lb) dried haricot beans
150 ml (¼ pint) olive oil
400g (15 oz) can of chopped tomatoes (sometimes I use fresh tomatoes and blanche and skin them myself).
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 celery sticks with leaves on, chopped
Salt and Pepper
2-3 tablespoons of chopped flat leaf parsley
Soak the beans in cold water overnight.
Drain the beans, place in a large pan and cover with fresh water.
Bring to the boil and cook for ten minutes, then drain.
Cover again with cold water, bring to the boil once more, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 1-2 hours or until the beans are tender but intact.
Add all the other ingredients, except the parsley and simmer for a further 30 minutes.
Add parsley, salt and pepper to taste and simmer for 1-2 minutes more.
Serve with crusty bread, olives and dry white wine.
*PGV Top Tip*
I always add the olive oil at the very end, but most people add it with the other ingredients. The good thing about adding the oil at the end is that the natural, raw flavours of the oil come through so you don’t actually use as much. You do however need the very best virgin olive oil and I would recommend coarse grain salt as well.