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Bean Soup (El Bulli, world-famous restaurant)

30 mins Cook
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Copy of NomNom Recipes 2023 05 05T143748.369

This Bean Soup comes to you from El Bulli eating place, famed in its time for topping the sector’s 50 pleasant restaurant listing, yr after 12 months. but fear no longer! This is not a complicated Michelin big name dish. It’s a easy bean soup from the El Bulli group of workers cookbook.

If this tasty little range is good sufficient for the folks behind this global elegance eating place, it’s suitable sufficient for the relaxation of us!

Bean Soup

Bean Soup from El Bulli

El Bulli turned into a eating place in Catalonia, Spain, that cemented its place in dining records as one of the global’s all-time finest restaurants. This 3-Michelin restaurant run by using the chef Ferran Adrià is excellent called a pioneer of molecular gastronomy – a highly technical, progressive fashion of meals that sought to redefine conventional preconceptions of food and eating.
Famously handiest open for five months of the yr, touchdown a reservation in its heyday became comparable to hanging gold. Even billionaires and Hollywood elites would chopper in, clamouring for a chance to taste mind-bending nouveau-Spanish dishes like spherified liquid olives and the “vanishing ravioli”. quite a step up from the form of nosh I’m used to sharing in this internet site!

The dishes cooked with the aid of the kitchen for team of workers food but had been much more recognisable, domestic-fashion fare with the aid of assessment. a group of these recipes is published in “The family Meal” El Bulli cookbook. This meals is certainly much closer to domestic and on my stage!!

The bean soup I’m sharing these days is primarily based on a recipe from the ebook. No dehydrators, Pacojets or xanthan gum needed for this one, I promise! All it is is simply a great, traditional Spanish bean soup crowned with a deliciously punchy, pesto-like picada that sincerely brings it domestic.
The unique recipe from “The family Meal” El Bulli cookbook contains clams. i used to be specially searching out a vegetarian bean soup so I left it out, and nonetheless notion it was scrumptious. in order that’s what I’m sharing today.

Ingredients in El Bulli’s Bean Soup

There’s components to this bean soup: the bean soup itself and picada, a pesto-like condiment utilized in Catalan delicacies. Don’t even reflect onconsideration on skipping it. It actually makes this in any other case very simple soup!


  • Right here’s what you want for the soup:
  • Vegetable inventory (forgive the typo above, i will repair it!) – save-sold is first-class however really, selfmade vegetable stock is a cinch to make and takes this soup from suitable to superb! come what may I can not believe El Bulli making this with packet inventory!
  • Beans – simply ordinary canned cannellini beans. El Bulli made this with dried beans they cooked themselves, which do taste better than canned. I opted for canned for comfort however so I (you!) can make this soup proper now. however I’ve covered directions in the recipe for making this with dried beans.
  • Tomato passata – Pureed, strained natural tomatoes, from time to time labelled “tomato puree” within the US (right here’s a photograph of Mutti tomato passata sold at Walmart). It’s conveniently available in Australian supermarkets in recent times, along pasta sauces. greater on tomato passata right here.
  • El Bulli probable made their own from clean tomatoes. we are able to do just exceptional with keep bought.
  • Garlic and onion – critical flavour base for an otherwise simple soup.
  • extra virgin olive oil – For cooking. El Bulli probable pressed their personal – heh! however you can simply use shop offered, don’t fear
  • Bay leaves, thyme and rosemary – A surprisingly small amount compared to the usual beneficiant volumes of herbs i take advantage of in my recipes, and it’s all we want for his or her subtle flavour.
  • I also experience (immaturely) very boastful that i’m able to say these are out of my very own garden.


  • In case you feel which you are prepared for the whole El Bulli enjoy by means of adding clams, right here’s how:
  • Soak clams for 1 hour as this may assist the clams to purge themselves of any sand.
  • eliminate from the water and add them to the soup 5 minutes before the give up.
  • If clams aren’t available, use mussels alternatively.


As noted above, Picada is to Catalans what pesto might be to Italians and sauce verte to the French. A brightly herby inexperienced paste emulsified with oil, a dollop or a smear of it just makes the whole lot better. This bean soup is no exception!

there are many versions of Picada, but typically it’s miles made with some sort of nut (almond is most not unusual however the hazelnut flavour here is on factor), parsley, oil (to emulsify the sauce) and generally garlic. sometimes bread is likewise introduced to thicken it, but we don’t want that for our purpose.

  • To make the Picada, it’s as simple as 1-2-three (four):
    Toast hazelnuts in a skillet with out a oil until it smells nutty, shaking the skillet often – about 4 minutes on medium heat. This brings out the flavour of the hazelnuts, so don’t skip this step!
  • eliminate most of the pores and skin through bundling them up in a tea towel and rubbing along with your hands (see video for demo). Then kind of chop them so it’s simpler to blitz. if you don’t chop them, the parsley will be pulverised right into a inexperienced smoothie before the hazelnuts are overwhelmed.
  • integrate all ingredients in a jug or jar just big sufficient to match the pinnacle of a stick blender.
  • Blitz till it has a consistency of pesto. It shouldn’t be pureed right into a smooth paste, you want a chunk of texture, like so:

How to make El Bulli’s Bean Soup

The 3 key steps right here to extract the most out of only some elements are:

  • Sautéing onion for an awesome 8 mins till golden brown and almost caramelised;
  • Cooking down the tomato passata for 8 mins till concentrated and sweetened; and
  • Pureeing a chunk of the beans to launch flavour and thicken the broth.
    Sauté onions slowly – Sauté onion, garlic and herbs for eight mins on medium heat till it’s miles golden and almost caramelised (like we do for French Onion soup – except this for fifty two minutes less!) Don’t rush this step – the onions rework from smelly to candy. also, cooking the herbs on a low warmness releases the flavor.
  • prepare dinner down tomato passata for 8 mins – This step chefs out the water, concentrates the flavour and intensifies the wonder. again, don’t rush this step – it’s simply another little factor that makes a difference in this otherwise easy soup!
  • Simmer – upload the beans and vegetable stock, then simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Puree – cast off 2/three cup of the soup and beans then use a stick blender to puree until smooth.
  • Stir in puree – upload the puree again into the soup and stir. This thickens the watery soup broth into a creamy consistency and colour.
  • upload some Picada – just before serving, upload in 1/2 the Picada and stir. This adjustments the shade of the soup from orange-purple to a purple-olive colour with little inexperienced bits in it. just for a laugh, taste the soup before and after the Picada so that you can wonder on the distinction it makes!
  • It’s satisfactory to do that just before helping preserve the green color. Having said that even though, don’t agonize about leftovers – it’s fine if the parsley loses its shiny green color because we preserve a few picada again to dollop on top of the soup.
  • Serve! as soon as the Picada is stirred in, the bean soup is prepared to serve. Ladle into bowls and dollop with a some of the reserved Picada for a success of freshness and flavour.
    that is one seriously excellent bowl of soup proper there. And to think it’s “just” made with canned beans!

I recognise a number of you will be tempted to pass the Picada, thinking it’s a further step you’d instead keep away from. however I promise you, it’s really worth it. It definitely makes it. Don’t leave it out!

Bean Soup (El Bulli, world-famous restaurant)

Bean Soup (El Bulli, world-famous restaurant)

This Bean Soup comes to you from El Bulli eating place, famed in its time for topping the sector’s 50 pleasant restaurant listing, yr after 12 months. but fear no longer! This is not a complicated Michelin big name dish. It’s a easy bean soup from the El Bulli group of workers cookbook.
prep time
10 mins
cooking time
30 mins
total time
40 mins




  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 garlic clove (large), minced

  • 1 brown onion , (1 large, 2 small), finely chopped (~180g/6oz)

  • 1/4 tsp fresh thyme , chopped (sub 1/8 tsp dried)

  • 1/4 tsp fresh rosemary , chopped (sub 1/8 tsp dried)

  • 1 bay leaf , fresh (or 1/2 dried)

  • 1/3 cup tomato passata (Note 1)

  • 4 x 400g/14oz cans cannellini beans , drained (Note 2 for dried)

  • 3 cups vegetable stock , preferably homemade (else low sodium store bought) (Note 3)


  • 1 cup fresh parsley leaves , roughly chopped (ie chop then lightly pack in)

  • 1 garlic clove (medium), roughly chopped

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 cup whole hazelnuts , skin on (or almonds)

  • 1/2 tsp cooking / kosher salt (or 1/4 tsp table salt) (Note 4)


Saute onion and herbs eight minutes: warmth oil in a big heavy based pot over medium warmth. upload garlic, onion, herbs and prepare dinner, stirring frequently, for eight minutes till the onions are a deep golden brown and sweet.
Cook dinner tomato passata eight mins: upload tomato passata and cook dinner over low warmness for any other 8 minutes till the tomato changes from red and watery to darkish brown a d very thick. do not skimp on this step, it is key for flavour!
Simmer: Stir in the beans observed through the vegetable inventory. modify warmth so it's bubbling very lightly and simmer for 15 mins with the lid off.
Blitz: transfer 2/three cup (150ml) of soup into a jug or jar massive enough to match the head of a blender stick. Blitz until smooth then stir it lower back into the soup to thicken the broth.
Stir in Picada: simply earlier than serving, stir in 2 tablespoons of Picada. taste and add greater salt if needed (canned beans range in salt). Then serve at once.
Serve: Dollop each bowl with 1 teaspoon of final Picada. Crusty bread noticeably recommended (smooth Artisan, no yeast bread or French brioche).


Toast hazelnuts: Preheat a small skillet over medium heat. add hazelnuts and toast, shaking the skillet frequently, till there are golden patches and that they scent nutty.
Get rid of most skin: transfer hazelnuts to a easy tea towel. package deal up and rub vigorously with arms to take away most of the pores and skin (that's bitter). (No need to do this with almonds)
Blitz: more or less chop hazelnuts then add right into a jug just large sufficient to healthy the head of a stick blender with closing components. Blitz till it's like pesto – not completely smooth. Use according to recipe.


Passata – that is pureed, strained tomatoes, every now and then labelled Tomato Puree within the US. It’s readily to be had in Australian supermarkets nowadays, alongside pasta sauces. it is easy and thick rather than chunky like canned tomato. See here for more records on passata. Beans – any white beans will paintings great here. navy beans, lima, butter beans. other shade beans (kidney beans, pinto, black beans and so forth) will paintings simply exceptional however the shade of the soup broth can be a chunk extraordinary (from pureeing a bit into the soup). The authentic recipe makes use of dried beans. I opted for canned so I (you!) could make it proper now. however it's miles even tastier with dried beans – see underneath. DRIED BEANS (navy, cannellini or different white beans) – you will need 2 1/2 cups of any dried white beans. 1 can = 1 three/four cups beans as soon as drained Recipe requires 4 cans = 7 cups beans 1 cup dried beans = 2 3/four cups cooked so that you will want 2.5 cups dried beans (2.5 x 2.75 = 7 cups cooked beans) a way to prepare dinner DRIED BEANS – soak in lots of water (beans will triple in volume) 5 – 24 hrs. Drain bring to boil then lightly simmer in a huge pot of water with 1 tbsp salt* partially blanketed with a lid. The cooking time will vary wildly relying no longer simply on size/form of beans, however also the age of beans. fresh dried cannellini beans, 24 hr soak = 25 minute cook dinner. vintage huge lima beans could take over 2 hours. begin checking at 25 mins, and the closer they're to being prepared, take a look at every short while. they're geared up once they’re almost soft all of the way thru, they will end cooking in the soup. SALT – If using massive dried beans, add partway via cooking. If the usage of smaller beans (like cannellini) just upload at the start (it received’t make them hard or increase cook time). stock – stock nice is one of the key matters that distinguishes domestic cooking from eating place cooking. Vegetable stock is a cinch to make, so I really urge you to don't forget making your personal homemade Vegetable inventory. four. desk salt is an awful lot finer grains than cooking/kosher salt so you will need much less. There’s now not a great deal salt required in this recipe due to the fact canned beans have salt in them. If the usage of dried beans, you may need more – follow recipe to taste and regulate on the cease. five. Recipe supply: “The circle of relatives Meal” via El Bulli eating place. The authentic recipe consists of clams. I left it out due to the fact i used to be after a vegetarian bean soup, and it’s nevertheless rather delicious with out. Clam version: if you experience that you are geared up for the whole El Bulli revel in through including clams, right here’s how: Soak clams for 1 hour as this may assist the clams to purge themselves of any sand. take away from the water and add them to the soup 5 mins before the end. If clams aren’t to be had, use mussels as a substitute. storage – Cooked soup continues for 4 days although the Picada stirred into the soup does lose the inexperienced color which is not any big deal! The fresh picada used for topping the beans shouldn’t be stored for longer than 2 days because of the raw garlic – any leftover on the cease of two days best to stir in. nutrition consistent with serving assuming 5 servings. It’s filling – beans are filling, and that they hold you complete!
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