When my friend and yoga teacher Catriona first mentioned green bean soup with Marmite, I have to admit I balked.
First of all, there’s no real need to make soup out of green beans. After all, why mush up something that’s meant to be served with a bit of snap? (My favorite is to blanche green beans and then saute them in butter with shallots, chopped hazelnuts and rosemary. Amazing!)
As to the Marmite, I really didn’t know exactly what it was, but it didn’t sound good.
For the uninitiated, Marmite is a sticky brown yeast paste that’s basically the gunk left over after beer is made. Let’s just say it’s strictly a love it or hate it proposition, which actually is the company’s slogan.
It is a true testament to my faith in Catriona that I plunged ahead. (How can you not adore a yoga teacher with an English accent and a Ph.D in biology?)
Oh, and she also told me it was a great hangover cure.
In any case, her recipe called for adding Marmite to taste. I wasn’t sure how it tasted so I gave it a whirl. I took a big old heaping teaspoon of the paste and popped it into my mouth.
In true faux English fashion, I carried on. And you know what, the soup was delicious. The green beans are sweet and the milk is creamy and the Marmite, well, the Marmite adds just the right spunk to the whole endeavor, as does the addition of Tabasco and red pepper flakes.
I haven’t tried it on a real hangover, but it does have that perfect combination of comfort and kick that one needs to get out of the fog of over indulgence.
Catriona’s Green Bean Soup
(Adapted from “A Busy Person’s Guide to Preserving Food” by Janet Chadwick)
Top and tail the washed green beans, cut them up into 1-inch pieces. Cook until tender. You will need 3 cups of pureed beans (made from 3 cups of cooked beans and 1 cup of stock).
Saute 1/4 cup of onion; add 1 cup of light cream or milk and the pureed beans. Stir.
The original recipe called for 2 dashes of Tabasco, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon basil, salt and pepper. I thought it was too sweet and anemic so I added Marmite to taste and my fail-safe standby: 1/4 teaspoon of each of the following: red pepper flakes, allspice and dried thyme.