Winter Warmer Soup
Spring is on the way, but the nights are still a bit chilly. Are you wishing for the sun to come out so you can put away your slippers for another year? For the time being… here is the perfect warming soup to keep you full, happy and cozy on these cool nights.
Best-Ever Minestrone Soup.
2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
1 large red onion, coarsely chopped
1 head of celery, coarsely chopped, keeping the leaves
1 head of garlic, cloves peeled
1kg Swiss Chard, leaves shredded and stalks roughly chopped
A good handful of parsley, finely chopped
400g whole tined tomatoes, drained most of their juices, roughly chopped
410g can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
700ml boiling chicken or vegetable stock
A few sprigs of winter herbs (thyme or sage), chopped
Parmesan, freshly grated
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1) Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and slowly fry the carrots, onion and celery until soft and dark. This will take about 20 minutes but it’s worth it – the slow cooking gives a lovely taste. Add the garlic, chard stalks and half the parsley, and stir to prevent sticking. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes or until reduced
2) Add half the Swiss chard leaves, three-quarters of the beans, and the boiling stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat. Simmer for 30 minutes. Pour in more stock if needed – don’t add too much – it should be thick
3) Add the remaining Swiss chard and blanch briefly so they remain green and crisp. Season when slightly cooled
4) Purée the remaining cannellini beans coarsely in a blender with some of the cooking liquid. Add to the soup – it should be very green.
5) Stir in the herbs. Serve hot with Parmesan, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a slice of crunchy toasted ciabatta loaf