White Bean Soup

Makes 2 servings (serving a crowd?)

¾ cups raisins (3 oz)
½ cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 cups drained and rinsed Great Northern beans (18 oz before rinsing and 12 oz after)
½ cup chopped spring onions
1 cup milk
5 drops almond extract
½ cup white wine
4 Tablespoons honey


Soak the raisins in the vinegar and brown sugar for a few hours. Put the beans in a saucepan with onions, milk, almonds, extract, honey and wine. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Add more milk if it gets too thick. Drain raisins, add them, and simmer for another 5 minutes.


A simple recipe, based a fourteenth manuscript version (see Hieatt and Butler's collection):
For to make a potage fene boiles, tak wite benes and seþ hem in water, & bray þe benys in a morter al to no3t; & lat þem seþ in almande mylk & do þerein wyn & hony. & seþ reysouns in wyn & do þerto & after dresse yt forth.
Fene here is a mistranscription of the French feves ‘beans.’

McKendry offers a similar modern redaction.

First served: Belatane 1993
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Last modified: © June 1993