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Cannellini tomato soup

Tasting

WHOLESOME This rich, warming tomato and bean soup is full of vegetable goodness.

Food
Red Cabot

You might be bored of hearing me say that food can improve your lives by delivering important nutritional elements direct to your gut, but it’s true. Over-processing natural ingredients denatures the very nutrients and enzymes that our bodies require. Try to work with foods in their natural, original state. This soup does just that – although there are some tinned beans and tomatoes in there!

Cannellini tomato soup

What you need
> 1 tin cannellini or other white beans (one cup of dried beans soaked overnight and boiled will do)
> 1 can whole, peeled tomatoes, drained
> 2 medium onions, finely chopped
> 8 garlic cloves finely chopped
> 1 tsp chilli (flakes or fresh)
> 1 fennel bulb, with core removed and chopped finely
> 1 litre veg stock (half strength)
> 1 tbsp red wine/sherry vinegar if you have it
> 1 bunch of winter kale, with stems removed and leaves torn by hand
> 2 bay leaves
> Olive oil
> Seasoning
> Chopped nuts for roasting and serving (almonds work best)

What you do
This dish calls for a specific cooking method to yield condensed, caramelised flavours. I certainly enjoyed the result and was very happy I stuck to a procedure for once. You see, even Red Cabot can follow procedures at times. Brunette please take note!
This is a two-stage cooking action. First, strain your peeled tomatoes and add them to a heavy pot with hot oil over a medium-high heat. Add the chilli, bay leaf and some salt. Leave undisturbed for five minutes, then break up the mix, scraping the bottom of the pot. Cook for another five minutes, occasionally stirring, until the tomatoes have caramelised.
Transfer the mixture to a holding plate/bowl. In the pot used for the tomato, add some oil and the onion, garlic and fennel. Cook, stirring, until the veg are soft and starting to brown around the edges. Now stir in all your tomato mix and the wine/vinegar, and add your beans and stock. Bring to a light boil and simmer for around 30 minutes. Just at end of the simmering, throw in the kale and stir around.
Serve in a big bowl with toasted almonds or any roasted nuts.

> Red Cabot is interested in food, nature and small things. He sells his food at Westport Country Markets in St Anne’s Boxing Club, James’s Street car park, Westport, every Thursday, from 8am to 1pm.

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