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This is inspired by homely Italian soups, but made with local winter ingredients.
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
½ leek, sliced
1 stick celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 bay leaf (fresh if possible)
1 sprig rosemary
390g can of cannellini beans or chickpeas, drained and rinsed
salt and freshly-ground pepper
4 stalks silver beet, kale or cavalo nero, roughly chopped
50g parmesan or any strong hard cheese, shaved with peeler
extra virgin olive oil for serving
In a large heavy-based pot pour in the oil and start by adding the onion, leeks and celery. Sweat gently without colouring for 5 minutes. Add the carrots and herbs and cook for a further 3-5 minutes.
I want to emphasise this first stage of sweating the ingredients as it will bring out so much of the natural flavours which will lay the foundations of a full-flavoured soup.
Add the tomato paste and stir to coat all the vegetables. Fry for a couple of minutes to darken the paste and deepen the flavour.
Add enough stock or water to just cover the ingredients, then add the beans and season lightly with salt. Cook gently for 30 minutes or until the vegetables and beans are soft. You want the stock of the soup to have a deep, intense flavour.
Add the greens and cook for at least another 15 minutes or until ready. Taste and adjust if necessary.
Serve in warm bowls with some form of strong, hard cheese on top and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a grind of black pepper.
• Alison Lambert, chef at the Otago Farmers Market, will be demonstrating this recipe at the market on Saturday morning.