Summer bean soup is a great way to use up a bumper crop / Jason Lowe
Serves 4-6

There is a huge repertoire of soups you can make for the hot summer months, many of them chilled variants of the wintery ones we all know and love.

You can really lose yourself while making this type of soup – they are summer in a bowl. There is one rule, though: a chilled soup must be fresh and zingy and have ingredients which can be cooked quickly and cooled fast.

You can use any seasonal beans for this and even a few yellow ones as a garnish. If you grow your own, it's a great way to use up a bumper crop, rather than boring all your friends by serving them as an accompanying veg.

1tbsp vegetable or corn oil
1 leek (both green and white parts), washed and roughly chopped
1.2ltrs vegetable stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
100g freshly podded peas (or frozen ones will do)
300g beans (broad, runner, Bobby etc, trimmed)
Crème fraîche to serve (optional)

Heat the oil in a pan and gently cook the leek for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally until soft. Add the stock, season and simmer gently for 10-12 minutes.

Put about a quarter of the peas and beans to one side for the garnish and add the rest to the soup and simmer for another 10-12 minutes, or until tender (frozen peas will only need a couple of minutes extra, once the soup comes back to a simmer).

Blend the soup in a liquidiser until smooth, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Strain through a sieve if you wish (some blenders do a better job than others). Cool the soup down in a container over ice, or in a sink with ice packs.

Cut the reserved beans into small, even-sized pieces and cook in boiling salted water for a couple of minutes until tender, then drain and refresh under cold water and mix together.

Pour the soup into chilled bowls and scatter the beans on top with a spoonful of crème fraîche in the middle.

Serve hot or cold.

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