Mexican-style spring minestrone

Mexican-style spring minestrone

Chris Middleton

I like giving traditional recipes a cross-cultural twist. Mexican soups are mostly brothy soups rich with beans, braised meats and vegetables. Here I have taken the flavours of Mexico – chilli and lime – to make a lighter minestrone-style soup. The addition of the zucchini (courgette) flowers, which always shout spring to me, stuffed with the soft goat’s cheese, works beautifully with the sweet raisin-like flavours of the pasilla chilli.



Quantity Ingredient
135g dried borlotti or black beans, soaked in water overnight
1.5 litres Chipotle chicken stock
or 1.5 litres vegetable stock
300g corn kernels, husks retained
1 rosemary sprig
50ml olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 bunch baby carrots, cut into 1 cm thick slices
1 small head celeriac, diced
1 small fennel bulb, diced
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
250g sliced green beans
250g small zucchini, sliced
100g peas, cooked
95g podded broad beans, blanched and peeled
100g angel hair pasta, broken into pieces and cooked
100g mixed grape tomatoes
squeeze lime juice
125ml Pasilla chilli relish
basil leaves, to garnish

Stuffed zucchini flowers

Quantity Ingredient
100g soft goat’s cheese
1 large handful chives, chopped
1 large handful tarragon, chopped
1/2 small garlic clove, finely grated
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 zucchini flowers
peanut oil, for frying
190ml milk
75g masa harina pan flour
sea salt, to taste


  1. To prepare the soup, drain and rinse the pre-soaked beans and place them in a medium saucepan. Cover with the stock, add the corn husks and rosemary and bring to the boil over medium heat. Simmer for 1 hour, or until tender.
  2. Heat the oil in a large, wide heavy-based saucepan over low heat. Cook the onion and garlic until softened. Add the carrot, celeriac, fennel and corn kernels and cook until soft. Add the cooked beans and stock and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. To prepare the zucchini flowers, combine the goat’s cheese, chives, tarragon and garlic in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture inside the flowers and twist the ends to secure.
  4. Half-fill a heavy-based frying pan with peanut oil and heat the oil to 180°C.
  5. To finish the soup, bring it to the boil again then add the beans, zucchini, peas, broad beans, pasta and tomatoes and bring to the boil again. Add the lime juice and adjust the seasoning, if required.
  6. Blend the pasilla chilli relish with enough boiling water to make a smooth liquid for drizzling. Adjust the seasoning. Set aside.
  7. To cook the zucchini flowers, dip them in the milk, then dredge in the masa harina flour and shallow-fry, turning occasionally, for 3–5 minutes, until crisp and golden brown. Remove using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Season with salt.
  8. Ladle the soup into shallow bowls, drizzle with the pasilla chilli relish and garnish with basil leaves. Sit the bowls on slightly larger under-plates. Place the zucchini flowers on the side or on top to serve.
Paul Wilson
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