pork, onion & cannellini

A potager soup of broth, plump beans and succulent pork, this is wholesome and rustic. The fattiness of the pork is balanced by lemon and plenty of fresh herbs.

Florence Knight

1hr 35 mins

The single most important element of a good soup is a well-made stock. It's worth considering what you will be using it for as that will determine your choice of ingredients and how you treat them. Cut the vegetables to give them maximum surface area and be sure to balance the ratio of vegetables and fresh herbs to cold water. Gently simmer the stock, seasoning while warm. And it's always best to prepare it a day ahead.

The textural quality of soup is often overlooked and can range from a clear broth through to a thick purée. Like making a cup of tea, it is a preference that is quite personal, but to achieve a silken texture, blitz the soup while it is warm.

Consider the accompaniments on the table: the variety of bread, good-quality butter, slices of ham and cheese. Growing up, weekend lunches were always a small feast of sorts, with a steaming pot of soup at their heart, whether whipped up from whatever remained in the fridge or a celebration of a single flavour.

720g pork ribs 2 small onions
2 tbsp olive oil
3 central sticks of celery, peeled and diced
2 small carrots, diced
I garlic clove
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs of rosemary
3 sprigs of sage 230ml white wine
2 litres vegetable stock
220g (drained weight) cannellini beans
1 tsp moscatel vinegar
1 small lemon, zested
1 small bunch of fiat-leaf parsley, picked and roughly chopped

Heat the oven to 220C (non-fan 240C).

Place the pork ribs onto a roasting tray and roast in the oven for 30 minutes, until they're a deep, golden brown.

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pan over a low-medium heat. Slice one of the onions and add to the pan with a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until they are soft, sticky and golden. Set aside.

Heat another large, heavy-bottomed pan over a medium-high heat. Quarter the other onion and add it to the pan with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the celery, carrots, garlic, bay leaves, rosemary and sage. Cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes, stirring every so often, until the vegetables have plenty of colour.

Remove the pork from the oven, lift the bones from the fat and place them into the pan with the caramelised vegetables. Add the white wine, stirring to scrape the bottom of the pan, then cover with stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Strain the contents of the pan, reserving the liquor and pork and discarding the vegetables and herbs. Strip the meat from the bones, removing any gristle or fat, and add the meat to the hot stock. Return the pan to the heat and add the beans and sticky onions. Once they've warmed through, stir through vinegar, lemon zest and the parsley.

Ladle into shallow bowls and serve with a slice of buttered bread.