Friday, 5 February 2016

Something Souperior!

Minestra Vegetale con Cavolo Nero, Zucca, Porro & Pomodorini
Vegetable Soup with Tuscan Kale, Butternut Squash, Leek & Cherry Tomato

A nice bowl of vegetable soup- needn't be hard work or time-consuming and is always better fresh than from a can... for all of the obvious reasons!

Grab whatever is in your fridge, add a little stock if it makes you happier- but just simply DO IT and you will always be glad you made that little bit of effort! After all- you DO deserve it!

This is a light "minestra"- not quite a "minestrone" as it doesn't have all the other goodies like pasta or potatoes or beans and what have you, but still varied and colorful and full of great flavors!

These are the kinds of dishes I like best- that are improvised and adapted to use whatever you may have in your fridge... real-life, sensible cooking!

See how few ingredients I needed to make 3 good bowls of soup?? What do we have here then... 3 cherry tomatoes, 1/3rd of a leek, 1 small onion, about 3" slice of celeriac root, 5-6 leaves of Tuscan kale, a chunk of butternut squash that was about the size of an orange... and what else did I need? Salt, pepper, olive oil and a little vegetable stock. And 45 minutes of time.

Some soups taste great only after they have boiled away for ages- and usually they taste even better still if you warm them up the day after... but some, taste great because you DON'T cook the vegetables in them slowly to death- you make it swift and painless and delicious and fresh tasting instead!

I started off this soup by frying the finely diced celeriac, butternut squash and onion, together with the finely chopped parsley stalks, for 2-3 minutes in olive oil, until they began to brown slightly.

I then covered the vegetables to about twice their height with boiling water and a little stock, brought that back up to the boil and then reduced it to a gentle simmer and continued cooking for the next 10 minutes.

I then added the relatively finely chopped kale and a pinch of salt and let that cook down into the broth for 10 minutes too.

Last, but not least, I added the leek, which I split down the middle in order to rinse it properly and then cut into thin slices. I cut the cherry tomatoes into quarters and added them along with plenty of freshly grated nutmeg and let the soup continue bubbling away for another 10-15 minutes.

Try to add your ingredients, whichever you decide to use, in order, starting with the firmest or those requiring the longest cooking time, so that nothing becomes really overcooked at all. It make a nice change from a soup from a packet or a can! This is just SO MUCH better!

Serve with a sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley and a drizzle of olive oil and see your Winter blues fade away... in wonderful technicolor!

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