Friday, 25 January 2019

Minestrone Soup ...

I'm in the throes of seasonal grey. I am filled with admiration for those people who can enthuse about all the seasons and extol the delights of our great British seasonal variety.  I try. I really try to mimic them and muster some enthusiasm for January, but it always defeats me. January is just a month too many in the book of my year.

If January were cold and crisp and full of frozen cobwebs and ducks slipping and sliding on the lake over at Osterley Park, where the WonderDog and I like to stretch our legs, it might be different. But right now, right here in the Big Smoke January is cold and grey and wet and miserable.

So I'm hunkering down and making soup. I've been on a health crusade since last June, which involves not eating many processed carbohydrates so I've left pasta off the list of ingredients and bigged up on the beans for this fortifying Minestrone: a small midday fix for the January blues.

Minestrone Soup


400 g bacon lardons -smoked or un-smoked depending on your preference
1 white onion roughly chopped
4 medium carrots roughly chopped
3 sticks of celery roughly chopped
3 large garlic cloves roughly sliced
1 small tin of tomatoe puree (140 g)
400g tinned chopped tomatoes
500 ml of good chicken stock
1 sprig of chopped rosemary
500 g tinned cannellini beans
180 g chopped kale or other winter greens
good glug of olive oil


1. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan gently fry the bacon lardons.
2. Add the onions, carrots, chopped rosemary, celery and garlic and leave to sweat for a few minutes until they have softened.
3. Mix in the tomatoe puree, season.
4. Stir in the chopped tomatoes.
5. Add the stock, turn up the heat slightly and bring to a gentle boil. Then add the beans and turn the heat down low leaving the soup to simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes.
6. If you're going to use all the soup in one-go add the washed and roughly chopped kale 3 or 4 minutes before serving. If I'm going to use the soup over more than one day I just cook enough greens in a separate pot for each serving that I'm going to use immediately. I add the kale to the soup bowls when it's cooked and ladle the soup over the top. I prefer to have green vegetables cooked freshly just before I eat them. Sad grey-looking vegetables that have been re-heated are so January. Don't go there!
7. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan and you're in business!

All the best for now,

Bonny x

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