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    Fennel, Butter Bean and Ox Tongue Soup with Green Sauce

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    Fennel, Butter Bean and Ox Tongue Soup with Green Sauce

    I once rather distrusted soup, but I am glad to say I have seen the light. This one has got it all going on, with a green sauce to stir in as you wish. Serve with bread.

    • Preparation time: 45 minutes, plus overnight soaking
    • Cooking time: 180 minutes
    • Total time: 5 hours 25 minutes, plus overnight soaking 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 45 minutes

    Serves: 8


    • 200g dried butter beans
    • 1 cured (brined or salted) ox tongue, about 1kg
    • 2 carrots
    • 1 leek
    • 2 celery sticks
    • 1 onion
    • 2½ garlic heads, 1 halved, 1½ separated and peeled
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 5 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
    • 3 onions, halved and sliced
    • 150ml pastis
    • 1.8 litres chicken stock
    • Green sauce
    • 40g curly parsley, finely chopped
    • 40g flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
    • 2 tbsp finely chopped mint
    • 1 tbsp finely chopped dill
    • 50g anchovy fillets, drained and finely chopped
    • 12 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 2 tbsp nonpareille capers, drained and rinsed
    • 60–75ml extra virgin olive oil


    1. Soak the beans in water overnight. Soak the tongue in water for 2 hours, then transfer to a pan with the carrots, leek, celery, onion and 5 garlic cloves. Bring to the boil and simmer for 3 hours; it should be tender when checked with a knife. Peel the tongue while still warm, then allow to cool.
    2. Put the butter beans and garlic head in a large pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, skimming off any scum; simmer for 1 hour until the beans are soft and swollen. Drain and set aside, discarding the garlic.
    3. Pour the olive oil into a large pan and put on a medium heat. Sweat the fennel, onions and remaining garlic cloves for 20 minutes, till giving but not collapsing. Add the pastis.
    4. Add enough chicken stock to cover everything, then add the butter beans. What you want is beans in the soup, not a thick, beany soup. Simmer for 15 minutes or so.
    5. For the sauce, mix everything together, adding enough olive oil to reach a loose consistency. Season with black pepper.
    6. Cut half the tongue into thin slices and add to the soup (keep the rest for sandwiches). Simmer for a moment, check the seasoning and serve with the sauce.

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