BROAD BEAN SOUP WITH SOFT POACHED EGGS

I hate clearing out my deep freeze and usually end up throwing out forgotten food, the single lamb chop and burst packet of peas. The happy discovery of two half eaten bags of frozen broad beans and four forlorn rashers of streaky bacon led to this fantastic soup. By starting the recipe with smoked streaky bacon and spring onions, the soup ends up surprisingly robustly flavoured, the thick and muddy green soup lavishly seasoned with salt and lemon. I served it with a dollop of lemony crème fraiche, a soft poached egg per serving and finely chopped flat leaf parsley from the garden. Highly recommended.

Serves 4

Prep: 20 min

Cook: 35 min

4 rashers smoked, rindless streaky bacon

4 spring onions

1 tbsp vegetable oil

375g frozen broad beans

750ml chicken or vegetable stock

1 lemon

4 eggs

1 tbsp wine vinegar

4 dsp crème fraiche or thick cream

few sprigs flat leaf parsley     

Chop the bacon into batons and soften in 1 tbsp oil in a medium, lidded pan over a medium-low heat while you trim and finely slice the spring onions, including the green. Tip the broad beans into a sieve to begin softening – many of mine were held in clumps of unwanted ice. When most of the bacon fat has melted, stir in the spring onion with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes until the onion is soft. Add the beans, stirring to mix and then add the stock. Increase the heat and bring to simmer. Immediately reduce the heat, semi-cover the pan and simmer for about 15 minutes to cook the beans. Liquidize in batches, allowing several minutes per batch to break down the bean skins. Return to the pan, passing through a sieve for a super-smooth finish, reheat and adjust the seasoning with salt and lemon juice. Just before you are ready to serve, crack one egg at a time into a tea cup and slip one after the other into a small pan of simmering water acidulated by the vinegar. Cook for about 2 minutes until the white is set but the yolk still soft. Scoop onto fold of kitchen paper to drain. Serve bowls of soup with a spoonful of crème fraiche, a soft-poached egg and chopped parsley garnish.