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Soup of Fresh Shelling Beans and Sorrel


Is it Monday? I’m pretty sure it’s Monday. The last two weeks have been a blur of sniffles, tissues, and gallons (I mean it) of chai. I came down with a cold just around the start of the month. Chalk it up to a late recovery from August’s crunch time at work. I took a couple of days on the couch to recover, and when it started to fade, I headed back to the office. But the cold wasn’t finished yet, and by trying to rush it, I only invited it to extend its stay. Sure enough, it hung around, bringing a sinus infection to the party, and before I knew it, two weeks passed. Well now I’m better, but in anticipation of the many unwelcome colds sure to pay visits this summer, I’ll share a godsend of a recipe with you. It’s for a soup so simple, yet so restorative, that I probably wouldn’t have made it through the past half-month without it.


One morning when I was feeling unusually chipper, I shelled some fresh cranberry beans and threw them in a pot. I added a couple teaspoons of olive oil, half an onion chopped, 2 whole cloves of garlic, water, and, about 20 minutes in, a big bunch of sorrel leaves (NOT the stems, which, I learned the hard way, separate into sharp spindles that are incredibly NOT fun to eat, especially when glands are swollen. Ouch.) I let the whole thing boil away for 25 minutes total; by then, the beans were pretty soft but not mushy, the sorrel was fully cooked, and the broth was incredibly fragrant and a bit tart from the sorrel.

My cold was of the particularly nasty variety that made swallowing a luxury just out of reach. My glands were the size of golf balls, and I literally struggled to get food down my craw. This soup was easy on the throat, really simple to make, and flavorful enough that even my stuffy nose could detect aromas. Highly recommended for winter, sick and healthy days alike.


About 1 lb. fresh shelling beans
1 bunch sorrel leaves, stems discarded
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
Half an onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic

Sweat onion and garlic in a couple glugs of olive oil until translucent but not brown. Add shelling beans and several cups of water, and boil til almost soft enough. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add chopped sorrel leaves and boil 3 more minutes. Taste the broth, not the beans, for seasoning: add more salt, pepper, or a squeeze or lemon juice or white wine if necessary. Serve hot.

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  • Anna Linn November 2, 2009,

    I just want you to know that I’ve read only one recipe so far, this sorrel soup, and I’ve already added you to my “FAVORITES” list of blogs. I just know I’m going to love this site.
    Anyway, I have one little question before I head to the market for ingredients for this delish sounding soupah.. You mentioned cranberries in your entry but it’s not on the ingredient list. I thought it sounded like an interesting ingredient but did it not work out or did you simply forget? Oh please let me know? Myself and my 5 year old Rebecca have horrible colds and my jewish penicillan chicken soupah is not working! Ugh. Maybe we’ve become immune?
    I will look forward to your reply…now onto more reading of your recipes!
    Thank you!

  • rivka November 2, 2009,


    Thanks for your comment! Glad you like the site. I should have been clearer — it’s cranberry BEANS, not cranberries. But hey, why not toss a cranberry or two in there and see what happens? Happy cooking!