One of hubby’s long-time favourite meals on a cold winter night is vegetable minestrone with chunks of sourdough. Minestrones conjure visions of warmth and hidden nutrition with each slurp that make it a hard-to-beat mid-winter meal.
This recipe’s flexible as you simply choose your favourite winter vegetable, white bean and grain, and you’re already halfway there… just the endless chopping is left! But, it’s worth the effort when you see the smiles of your family.
Health benefits –
· Cavolo Nero kale is a powerful antioxidant, and is also high in vitamins A, K and calcium.
· An ingredient in kale, called sulphorane, produces enzymes that detoxify the liver.
· Sourdough bread is made using fermentation of the dough; it has a lower glycemic index and lower gluten levels.
6 cups favourite assorted vegetables, eg. celery, carrot, parsnip, turnip, zucchini, red capsicum, aubergine, butternut pumpkin, mushrooms, green beans, potatoes, cabbage
200 grams farro or favourite grain
1 leek, white only
2 cloves garlic
small splash oil – olive oil or ghee
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon paprika or chilli, to taste
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon tomato paste
400 grams (14 oz.) diced tomatoes
3 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
400 grams (14 oz.) cooked white beans, rinsed (chickpeas, butter beans, cannellini or lima beans)
8 Tuscan kale (Cavolo Nero) leaves
salt and freshly ground pepper
Rinse the farro in a sieve, place in a bowl with cold water and let soak for 20 minutes while you chop the vegetables. Chop vegetables into cubes, slice mushrooms and celery, and chop beans into 2 cm (¾ inch) lengths. Dice onions finely, slice leeks finely and grate garlic cloves. Add oil or ghee to a large saucepan, and sauté onion, leek and garlic on a medium heat until translucent. Add vegetables (except kale), vegetable stock, tomato paste, tomatoes and drained farro. Season the soup with herbs, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, and then simmer for 20-25 minutes until vegetables and farro are tender. Add the cooked white beans and simmer for a further 4-5 minutes. Wash kale and chop roughly. Add kale and cook for 5 minutes until tender, then add the apple cider vinegar and stir. Ladle stew into bowl and top with chunks of sourdough bread.