Monday, 8 October 2007

Heavy weekend = hearty soup

Bit of a heavy weekend this weekend...

And that normally means that Monday night is a night for a wholesome, hearty home made soup, packed full of seasonal veg and pulses.

Tonight is no exception, and I've been waiting for just such a night to try out one of the fabulous autumn recipes that were featured in last month's issue of OFM. I think it will be a variation of the Spinach and Chickpea Soup, although I'm going to use Kale instead, as I have plenty in the fridge... Just picked up plenty of smoked pancetta too which should make it taste all the more wonderful.

If you're interested, my usual recipe for wholesome minestrone as as follows:

Two onions
Two large carrots
One stick of celery
At least two plump cloves of garlic
A couple of courgettes
One potato, chopped into small cubes
half a small savoy cabbage
one tin of cannelini, flageloti, or black-eyed beans, drained
a handful of small past shapes, or broken up spaghetti pieces
a litre of veg stock
olive oil to finish
A parmesan rind (optional)

There is no science to this, just chop all the ingredients into similar size pieces, then sweat off in a large pan, starting with the onions, celery, and carrots (which I believe is called a sofritto, and is the basis of many Italian soups and stews), then the garlic, then the courgettes, and potato.

Once they have softened, add the stock, and boil for 20 minutes or so. You can add the parmesan rind at this point too if you like - a tip I got off Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, that gives the soup a nice, deep flavour. Add the cabbage, cut into strips, and the beans, and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Check the seasoning, and serve drizzled with a little oil, and chunks of crusty bread.

If that doesn't make you feel healthy, nothing will.

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