David Flynn and his twin brother Stephen are the bright inspired minds behind The Happy Pear in Greystones, County Wicklow: an all-round temple to healthy delicious food in the form of a natural food market, café restaurant, and juice and smoothie bar.
With the calendar officially declaring the dead of winter now, and us here in Ireland wrapped under a thick blanket of snow, David has shared some tips on choosing ingredients and cooking for the chilly season.
His secret weapon for this time of year is an extra hearty Irish soup recipe, with root veggies and beans, to keep us all warm until the Irish Coffees come out tonight!
Our cooking reflects the seasons. These days we are making more comforting, warming, wholesome dishes, and light summery dishes have been put on the shelf till late spring. I am really enjoying making chunky vegetable soups at the moment. With them, it’s nice to put some sort of bean or lentil through it as it gives a different texture, and make sure to use lots of different vegetables so that each spoonful is like a lucky dip! And, of course, using some herbs and seasoning is the most important to get the taste bang on.
We love to use local ingredients; they turn us on and make us very grateful to our local farming heroes! Right now, there are still lots of local produce available. Root veg are bountiful, namely: carrots, beetroot, celeriac, potatoes, parsnips, and onions. There are still some local greens knocking around too, such as spinach, mixed leaves and rocket.
With all that in mind, this chunky soup with butterbeans, spinach and of course loads of vegetables, is guaranteed to tick those warming, wholesome boxes at this time of year. Enjoy!
Chunky Irish White Bean, Vegetable & Spinach Soup
Preparation time 15 minutes. Cooking time 45 minutes. Serves 6 people.
3 red onions, chopped finely
3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
5 stalks of celery, chopped finely
3 carrots, chopped finely
1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
1 fennel bulb, chopped into bite-sized bits
1 potato grated/chopped very small (to thicken the soup)
1 tablespoon of salt
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 can of butterbeans
3 tablespoons of mixed herbs (if you can use fresh rosemary and thyme even better)
½ teaspoon of black pepper
2 litres of water with 1 vegetable stock cube
100g of baby or teen spinach
- Fry the onions and garlic in a little water at a medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Add the chopped celery, carrots, fennel bulb, potato, salt and fennel seeds.
- Mix everything together in the pot, and cook at medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
- Add the black pepper, the chopped tomatoes, the butterbeans, mixed herbs, the 2 litres of stock and turn up the heat to high. Bring to the boil.
- Once boiling, turn the heat down and leave simmer for 40 minutes. Add in the spinach just before serving for color and freshness!
Find out more about Greystone’s favourite veggie foodstore and cafe The Happy Pear.
For a similarly warming Irish dish, try our recipe for Traditional Irish Stew.