Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Kale and Hearty!

Zuppa Rustica di Cavolo Nero & Uovo in Camicia
Rustic Tuscan Kale Soup with Poached Egg


I am sure you have all noticed how much of a cheapskate I am when it comes to cooking by now... And the worst thing is- I am even proud of it! I find extreme joy in creating good and healthy meals from simple and modest products... To me, that is what good cooking is all about!

This simple soup warmed me up, made me feel happy and didn't stress me out in its preparation after a long day at work. Basically, that is the bottom line for me by the time I get home in the evening! I like to make realistic deals for everyday living... Because that is the kind of life that I lead! I shall leave the high-end cuisine to other people... For now...


I had bought the Tuscan kale on Saturday, basically because I simply couldn't resist, but in all honesty, I had no idea of what I was going to do with it!

The obvious dish to make, would have been the ubiquitous "ribollita", the Tuscan kale and bean soup, enriched with bread and re-boiled the day after... Super delicious in any case!

But the fact is, a whole bunch of kale is enough to make at least 2 meals from, for one person... So I made my first this evening and being a contrarian, made a wholly different soup from it... And why not!?!?


I decided to make a really rough and ready, simple soup, using a beef broth as the base and enriched with these fresh vegetables. And yes, I DID simply use a bouillon cube, as mere mortals do! Otherwise, all I needed were 7-8 leaves of kale, 1 shallot, 1 small carrot, 1 stalk of celery, 1 egg, salt, pepper and of course, some good extra virgin olive oil.


You could use chicken or vegetable broth if you prefer, but I wanted a good, strong contrast to the vegetable flavors, to stand up to the strong flavor of the kale and to blend nicely with the smooth mildness of the egg. For me, it was all about the balance of flavors... In fact... That's always the way it is for me!


I began by sautéing a fine dice of shallot, carrot and celery in olive oil, until they began to soften up...


Whilst that was happening, I rinsed off the kale, pulled it from the tough stems and shredded it finely. This is very easy to do with the Tuscan kale, as the leaves are all similar in shape and long and thin... So easy to handle!

Once I had shredded them finely in one direction, I turned my chopping board 90 degrees and chopped again, so that I had a fine dice... All the better for cooking more quickly!


I added the kale and stirred it in, letting it fry in the oil until it wilted down and began to soften. I added a pinch of salt to speed up this process.


Next, I added enough broth to cover everything well, brought it to the boil and then reduced to a simmer and let it cook for 10 minutes.


After 10 minutes, I carefully added the egg and replaced the lid to the saucepan to let it sit and poach for the following 6-7 minutes. Of course, it all depends on how firm you prefer the egg to be, but keeping the lid on will make it cook from above, so that you don't have a runny surface... I don't think anyone wants that!

When it comes to serving, lift out the poached egg first and set it briefly to one side, whilst you fill your bowl with a ladle... You do want it to look pretty after all!

Set the egg on top, add a little drizzle of good olive oil and grind with fresh pepper and serve immediately.


It is just a wonderfully hearty, Winter soup... Unpretentious, humble and wholesome... A little bit like me! Hahaha!


Grab your spoons, dig right in and enjoy!

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