Greek for beans, this awesome soup is one of the few good things to have come from my father.
Well, apart from me, obviously.

I haven't been able to find a published version of exactly this recipe, perhaps it's particularly Cypriot? Most versions seem to include tomatoes, onions, garlic and a motley of other vegetables, but it is quite similar to the Egyptian/Sudanese dish Ful Medame, and vaguely reminiscent of some Greek chicken, lemon and rice (Avgolemono) soups.

The combination of its four simple flavours: bean, celery, olive and lemon juice works astonishingly well, so don't even think of improving it with the addition of just a bit of garlic.
You should adjust the amount of olive oil and lemon juice to individual taste - I think it's best to serve the lemon juice on the side.

Although Mum used to make this as a soup, personally I prefer to make it the consistency of a thick bean stew.

soup veg vegan stew
Mum used to make us this for us when we were kids, and although it should work with almost any kind of white bean
- Flageolet, Broad (Fava) beans, Cannellini (White Kidney, Fazolia) -
we haven't really tried it with Butter (Lima) beans or Haricot (Navy) beans.
It tastes particularly good made with Flageolet though.

Serves 4

Wash the beans and soak them overnight if you are well organised and want to cut down on the cooking time.
Rinse off the beans, put them in a large pot and cover with cold water add a few bay leaves and bring slowly to the boil. Skim off the white scum when it rises, then simmer the beans until they start to soften and become tender, but before they begin to shed their skins (around 1 hour), adding more water if necessary.
Meanwhile wash and slice the celery stalks into ½" pieces, you can divide the stalks if they are very wide.

If you subscribe to the kitchen myth that salting beans toughens their skins then you should refrain from adding salt until the beans are half-cooked. Otherwise, go ahead and add some salt whenever you bloody well feel like, but my recommendation would be not to overdo it until the beans are soft enough to taste.

Fish out the bay leaves and add celery to the cooked beans, aiming for roughly half the volume of celery as beans (or less), and continue simmering.
It's ready once the celery has softened (20 or 30 minutes), try and organise it so that the water has evaporated to leave the consistency you prefer at this stage (otherwise you'll have to carry on boiling until it's dry enough).
Stir through a generous dollop of olive oil to coat the beans thoroughly, and serve either dressed with a drizzle of lemon juice or with a jug of lemon juice on the side.
Good served with hunks of soft white bread, adjust the olive oil and lemon juice to your taste - I like it cooked so that almost all the water has evaporated and it has the consistency of a thick and juicy stew, but you are allowed to serve it more soupy if you prefer.

In stew form it can be eaten cold as a cold salad, but it's definitely best served hot.

I also made a nice variation with the addition of some sliced chorizo to the beans, used cider and chicken stock for the liquid, thickened the stew a little with some mashed potato, and stirred in some chopped parsley with the olive oil and lemon juice to finish.
You can throw a pheasant in there too if you have one handy.
Also yum!