The River Cafe's winter minestrone
- Preparation and cooking time
- Total time
- Ready in 1¾ hours
- Serves 5
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium carrots , roughly chopped
- 1 large red onion , coarsely chopped
- 1 head of celery , coarsely chopped, keeping the leaves
- 1 head of garlic , cloves peeled
- 1kg Swiss chard , leaves shredded and stalks roughly chopped
- a good handful of parsley , finely chopped
- 400g can peeled plum tomatoes , drained of most of their juices, roughly chopped
- 1kg cavolo nero , stalks removed, leaves shredded (or savoy cabbage)
- 410g can cannellini beans , drained and rinsed
- about 700ml boiling chicken or vegetable stock
- a few sprigs of winter herbs such as thyme or sage, chopped
- freshly grated parmesan , or vegetarian alternative
- extra-virgin olive oil , for drizzling
- STEP 1
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and slowly fry the carrots, onion and celery until soft and dark. This will take about 20 minutes but it’s worth it – the slow cooking gives a lovely taste. Add the garlic, chard stalks and half the parsley, and stir to prevent sticking. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes or until reduced.
- STEP 2
Add half the Swiss chard leaves, half the cavolo nero, three-quarters of the beans, and the boiling stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat. Simmer for 30 minutes. Pour in more stock if needed – don’t add too much – it should be thick.
- STEP 3
Add the remaining Swiss chard and cavolo nero and blanch briefly so they remain green and crisp. Season when slightly cooled.
- STEP 4
Purée the remaining cannellini beans coarsely in a blender with some of the cooking liquid. Add to the soup – it should be very green. Stir in the herbs and serve hot with Parmesan and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.