First blog post / Hearty bean and kale soup
First recipe on the blog so I thought I would make it one of my new favourites – a hearty classic Italian style soup. I made this soup first a few weeks ago; the weather was quite grey and I was in one of those moods when I needed something quick, but also comforting, and thus the delicious tomatoey soup was born.
The ingredients are simple, and the whole thing only takes about 20 minutes, which means it’s perfect for a rainy day when you can’t really be bothered to do anything fancy.
I like to use borlotti beans, for their rich heartiness, and butter beans, for contrast of the borlotti beans and their creamy texture. If you want an even thicker soup use cannellini as they contain a lot of starch, which will come out as they cook.
In terms of a leafy green, I often prefer spinach in soups, but for this one I think kale works really nicely, as its texture is slightly tougher, which makes the soup feel a bit more substantial.
A little bit of sugar is also something that I often add to Italian style recipes that are tomato based. You don’t need very much, 1 level tsp per tin of tomatoes is usually what I go for. This recipe uses tomato puree but a tsp still seems to be the right amount. Why do this? The reason is to take the acidity out of the tomato and bring out the sweetness. Rather than being able to taste the sugar, it should just be a subtle change in flavour.
And of course the one ingredient I cannot forget to mention – GARLIC. I’m a bit of a garlic fan, I often use way more than recipes tell me to, but I just love the flavour it can add to a dish so most of the time I just say why the hell not? In this soup the garlic really is a key ingredient so definitely be generous!
One thing I’ll also mention is that I tend not to use oil in my cooking as I prefer to get my healthy fats from whole foods. Instead I usually just cook using a non-stick pan and small splashes on water if things to start to stick. It’s a really simple way to make your cooking slightly healthier, but if you don’t have a non stick pan, a small drop olive oil could come in useful.
Anyway back to the recipe – no soup is at it’s best without some kind of fresh crusty bread – my choice this time was sourdough but just choose whatever takes your fancy to soak up the tomatoey goodness.
So without further ado, here’s the first recipe up on the blog – I hope you like it!
½ medium red onion
4-5 cloves garlic
1 level tsp sugar
2 vegetable stock cubes
1 1/2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tin borlotti beans
1 tin butter beans or cannellini beans
- Finely chop the onion and garlic, then fry in a non stick pan for about 6 minutes on a medium heat, until the onions turn translucent. Add the tomato puree and cook for 1 more minute.
- Dissolve the vegetable stock cubes in 1 litre of boiling water, then add to the pan along with the beans (include the juices from the tin), and the sugar. Cook on a medium heat for about 10 minutes. As the beans cook their starch will come out, making a thick and delicious starchy soup.
- After this stir in the kale and cook for a few more minutes. Once the kale is cooked the soup is ready to serve up with your fresh bread of choice.