We had a blast celebrating the simple, but meaningful Food Revolution Day with Jamie and all of you this year. But just because the day has come and gone, doesn’t mean you have to leave the whole-food, healthy recipes in the dust! One of the easiest ways to keep your family in balance is to gather a few staple recipes like this one that you can rely upon no matter the evening and no matter the season. Jamie shares a few tips below for making this nourishing soup that can feed a single diner, a table full of family or even a few easy-going dinner guests. Here’s Jamie…
This is a basic but lovely vegetable soup – it’s jam-packed fully of goodness and will do anyone who eats it the world of good! You can either keep it hearty and chunky or you can cook the soup without the pasta in it, whiz it up in a blender, pour it back in the saucepan with some pasta and cook until the pasta is soft. Delicious!
Soup is a great way to make the most of seasonal produce – vary your choices throughout the year and stock up on what’s in season. Make up a big batch of soup, even if you’re only cooking for yourself and you can keep the rest in the fridge for light suppers, packed lunches, and even freeze portions in sandwich bags to eat another day.
Save the rinds from your Parmesan cheese and pop into your soup for some extra flavour, just remember to remove before serving – those little pieces of rind that you’d normally throw away are super tasty and not to be wasted. This soup is also great for using up any odds and ends of pasta – bash up any big pieces up so they cook a bit quicker.
All-Season Minestrone Soup
Large pan with lid
2 rashers (strips!) of bacon, the best quality you can afford
1 clove garlic
1 red onion
2 sticks celery
1 small leek
1 large potato
1 to 1 1/3 cup chickpeas
a large handful curly kale
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 fresh bay leaf
2 cans of good-quality chopped tomatoes
1 liter vegetable stock, preferably organic
2 handfuls of mixed small pasta shapes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
optional: a bunch of fresh basil, Parmesan cheese
Finely slice the bacon. Peel and finely chop the garlic and onion. Trim and chop the carrots, celery and courgette. Cut the ends off the leeks, quarter them lengthways, wash them under running water and cut them into 1cm slices.
Scrub and dice up the potato. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Remove the woody stalks from the kale and roughly chop the leaves.
Heat a large pan over a medium heat and add a lug of olive oil. Throw in the bacon and fry it gently until it starts to turn brown and smell fantastic. Add the garlic, onion, carrots, celery, courgette, leek, oregano and bay leaf and cook slowly for about 15 minutes, stirring now and then, until the vegetables have softened.
Add the tomatoes, potato, chickpeas and vegetable stock, then cover with a lid and bring everything slowly to the boil. Simmer for about 30 minutes, then check (with the tip of a knife) that the potato is soft and cooked through.
After that, add the kale and pasta, and cook for 10 more minutes, until the pasta is cooked. If the soup is too thick for you after cooking the pasta, thin it with a little more stock or water.
The basil is optional but I think it is a nice little addition. If you decide to use it, stir some chopped leaves into the soup. Finish by seasoning with a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and pass the Parmesan around the table for people to grate over their soup.