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Thick, hearty, healthy and delicious. Soups like this are a meal in themselves and need little to accompany them.
Kale and white bean soup
250g dried cannellini, haricot or 2 cans white beans, drained
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 sticks of celery, diced
2-4 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1 Tbsp tomato paste
handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1 sprig (2 tsp) fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
Pinch dried chilli flakes
1 bunch (6 stalks) kale, stalks removed, and sliced roughly
2 litres stock or watersalt and freshly ground pepper
extra virgin olive oil and a little freshly grated parmesan cheese to serve.
If using dried beans, rinse well and soak overnight or for at least eight hours covered in cold water.
Drain and rinse under cold running water. Place the beans in a suitably sized pot and cover generously with water, add stalks of parsley and rosemary and 1-2 cloves garlic. Cook over a moderate heat until tender (approx. 40 minutes to 1 hour). Remember to add no salt until last 10 minutes of cooking. Set aside.
In a medium to large pot, add the oil, onion, carrot, celery and garlic and sweat off (cook without colour) for at least 10 minutes.
Add the tomato paste, herbs and kale, cook for a further 5 minutes.
Add the cooked beans along with about 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
If using tinned beans, rinse them well and add to soup. Add enough stock or water to just cover ingredients, add a pinch of chilli and season well. Simmer gently until all the ingredients start to come together in taste and the kale has wilted and the beans are on the verge of going a little mushy (about 30 minutes).
Taste and adjust seasoning. I like to use a potato masher and once or twice mash the beans and vegetables lightly together to slightly thicken the soup.
Serve drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and a grate or two of cheese.
• Alison Lambert, chef at the Otago Farmers Market, will be demonstrating this recipe at the market on Saturday morning.