Sunday, March 23, 2014

Kale & chickpea soup

I started writing a lot of boring, unoriginal tripe about autumn and the change of season and blah blah blah...  But really all I want to do is share this recipe, which is jolly good. It's the first thing I've made that includes kale that actually turned out well. Better than well.

It's chunky and deeply flavoursome and easy and versatile and tastes even better the next day... Everything you want in a winter soup, really. So if that doesn't grab you, just look at the bloody picture.

Look, damn you!

Kale & chickpea soup
Serves 4

Okay, a note on versatility: This is the basic recipe, but I've made a similar one using spinach instead of kale with fish stock, some Cape salmon, a few tablespoons of fish sauce and even a little kimchi (!) thrown in, and it was magnificent. For red meat lovers, using beef or lamb stock (along with browned cubes of lamb or beef) will also work really well — or even some chunks of chorizo, and maybe use red wine instead of white? Look, I know I haven't exactly reinvented the wheel, but it is a nice change from minestrone, which is my default winter soup.

Extra virgin olive oil
One onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
A few thyme springs
1/2 tsp dry chilli flakes
10 large plum tomatoes, blanched, peeled and pureed
(or 1 tin of chopped tomatoes and maybe a tbsp tomato paste?)
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 large bunch kale, stems removed and roughly chopped (I used my food processor)
1/4 head red cabbage, shredded
1 tin chickpeas, drained

1. In a large pot, fry the onion, garlic, thyme and chilli gently in a few tablespoons olive oil until the onions are soft and glassy. Add the tomatoes, stock, wine and lemon juice and stir, then add the kale and cabbage. Bring to the boil and let it bubble away until it's reduced slightly — you want the soup to have the consistency of a stew — then lower the heat, place a lid on the pot and simmer very gently for about an hour and a half; two if you can wait that long.
2. About 10 minutes before serving, stir in the chickpeas.
3. Place in bowls, drizzle generously with peppery olive oil and serve with crusty bread on the side.

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