White Bean Soup
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Reuben at Home

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Reuben at Home


White Bean Soup

Recipe By Reuben Riffel
Photographs By Craig Fraser


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 leek, white part only, chopped
1 celery stalk, sliced
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes (or to taste)
3 tins canned white beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 fresh bay leaves
1½ tablespoons red wine vinegar (or to taste)
salt and pepper
smoked paprika oil or chilli oil
flat-leaf parsley and oregano, coarsely chopped
8 thick slices sourdough bread
extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1 garlic clove, halved

If you had to look in our freezer at home at any time, I can guarantee that you will find a container or two of frozen boontjiesop. Maryke and her mom always cook soup in bulk and then freeze some for a rainy day or for when the cravings hit. This bean soup was a staple in our home growing up, and I’m happy to say that it’s now a staple in my children’s lives. When it comes to eating plain beans, only my daughter Latika shares my fondness for them. But put beans in a soup and suddenly everyone in our house is hungry!

Cooking Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat, and fry onion, garlic, carrot, leek and celery, stirring occasionally, until tender (4 to 5 minutes).
  2. Stir in the chilli flakes, then add beans, stock and bay leaves to the pot.
  3. Let the soup simmer for 25 minutes, then pulse with
    a hand-held blender until partially puréed.
  4. Add vinegar, season to taste and keep warm.
  5. Preheat a char-grill pan over high heat. Drizzle both sides of the bread slices with a little olive oil, season to taste
    and toast, turning once (1 to 2 minutes each side).
  6. Rub the crostini with raw garlic and place one slice in each serving bowl. Ladle over hot soup.
  7. Scatter with herbs, drizzle with flavoured oil and serve with the rest of the crostini.

About the Author

There can be no doubt about the fact that Reuben Riffel is one of South Africa’s most well-known and acclaimed chefs. With no less than five restaurants in his stable (Reuben’s in Franschhoek, Reuben’s at the Robertson Small Hotel, Reuben’s at the One & Only in Cape Town, Reuben’s at Abalone House in Paternoster and finally Racine in Franschhoek), Reuben has also become a household name as the face of Robertsons Herbs & Spices and his recent role as a MasterChef South Africa judge. This award-winning chef is also father to four cookbooks: Reuben Cooks: Food is Time Travel, Reuben Cooks Local (also published by Quivertree and winner of Best Chef’s Cookbook and photography respectively at the World Gourmand Awards in 2009 and 2012), Braai: Reuben on Fire (published by Quivertree and second-place winner of the Sunday Times Cook Book of the Year award 2014) and finally Reuben at Home. Key to Reuben’s success is his unsurpassed ability to marry South African and international cuisines via an eclectic but unpretentious approach, using only the best seasonal ingredients.

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