Normally when I post a new recipe on my blog I like to try it several times first to make sure everything is just right, however this is a new recipe for both you and I! I've been watching a lot of Nigel Slater recently and I love his relaxed approach to food and cooking and just using what you have and what's available, so perhaps he inspired me because the other day a friend came round to visit with her kids and they brought a huge bag of Kale and Tomatoes that they had grown in their garden. They were so amazing and I couldn't wait to use them in something, but since I had my meal plan done for the week (and was desperate to finish all of the curries from the weekend so I had some room in my fridge!) I thought how about a delicious, healthy soup! So that's what I did. I knew before I made it that it would taste good and it did - it was so good and even Ben absolutely loved it!
The quantities for the tomatoes and kale are approximate since it just depends on what you have and your own tastes. I had more of both but felt that the amounts below were perfect for this batch, plus it means I still have enough kale leftover to enjoy a bowl of Spaghetti with Kale, Garlic & Lemon for a quick Saturday night supper after a day on the boat - double bonus!
This soup is what cooking (and growing your own vegetables) is all about - using what you have at the right time of year paired with a few pantry staples and ending up with something so simple and easy to make but full of wonderful fresh flavours.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled & finely diced
Pinch of chilli flakes or ½ fresh red chilli, deseeded & finely chopped (optional)
600g (approx.) tomatoes, chopped (use a variety if you can)
1 heaped tbsp tomato puree
1000ml good quality vegetable or chicken stock
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
400g tin of beans, drained (ideally Cannellini but whatever you have that you like)
100g (approx.) kale, stalks removed and roughly sliced/chopped
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Grating of parmesan
Crusty bread (optional but so good!)
Heat the oil in a large pan then add the onion and gently sauté for 5 minutes until softened but not coloured. Add the garlic and carrots and cook for another 5 minutes stirring from time to time and then add the chopped tomatoes to the pan. Cook for a further couple of minutes then add the tomato puree, stock and some seasoning. Bring to a gentle simmer and allow the soup to cook for a good 20-30 minutes to let the tomatoes soften and break up a bit before adding the beans and the kale. Allow to simmer for another 5 minutes or so just until the kale is tender then taste to check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Serve at once with a nice drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a grating of parmesan for the perfect lunch.