Chicken, borlotti and cranberry soup

I had some chicken left over from a roast we had the other day and I was trying to think of something to do with it.  I had a can of borlotti beans in the cupboard, a swede and some cranberries I bought when they were on special offer the other day, so this soup seemed like the thing we should have for tea.  It was tasty and the cranberries added an interesting colour and a zingy bitterness that added and interesting and good dimension to the soup.  If you have celery or carrots in the house then add some of these; I didn’t have any in the cupboard.

I served it with parmesan croutons which are very easy to make.  Just cube some bread and place on a baking tray with a light sprinkling of olive oil.  Place in a preheated oven at 200°c (400°f, gas mark 6) for about 7-8 minutes until golden all over.  As soon as they come out of the oven finely grate some parmesan over them so that it melts on contact.

1 onion, sliced finely
100g swede, diced
splash of Marsala or Madeira wine (optional)
1 dessertspoon plain flour
the leftover meat from a roast chicken ( I had two drumsticks left over for this soup)
400g tin of borlotti beans, drained and rinsed (or any other pulses you may have)
a handful of cranberries (fresh or frozen)
570 ml (1 pint) vegetable or chicken stock
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper


Sweat the onion and swede for about 10 minutes until the onion is translucent and the swede is beginning to take on a little colour. Add the flour and mix well, cook for a minute or so to cook out the taste of the flour.  Add a splash of Marsala if you are using it.  Add the stock and stir well to mix it with the flour. Add the rest of the ingredients except the salt (adding salt will make the bean tough). Cook for about 15-20 minutes on a gentle simmer.  Add salt to taste just before serving.  Serve in warmed bowls with the parmesan croutons or fresh bread.

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