Sunday, 20 June 2010

tasty kale had my first major kale harvest last week.  As you can see I got a nice big bunch of leaves.  There are still plenty more on the plant but they're smaller.  I quickly realised that even at full length, the younger leaves are very narrow, leaving a lot of stem and not a lot of leaf.  So I left them on the plant for later.

In any case, this was plenty for one go!  I carefully washed them (only a few aphids, no caterpillars) and cut out the stems before chopping them up.  It went into one of my favourite winter soups - minestrone with white beans.  I don't really follow a recipe anymore but here's what I did, more or less.

Chop up an onion, carrot, and clove of garlic.  Cook until carrot starts to soften, then add a can of chopped tomatoes, bay leaf, about 4 cups of water or stock and the rind from a wedge of Parmesan.  That's the single most important ingredient to minestrone - you must have a Parmesan rind.  It adds an amazing depth of flavour.

Bring to a simmer and add a bit of pepper (no salt though, the Parmesan takes care of that).  I add a few handfuls of red lentils, not authentic but it adds a richness to the soup.  Then add the kale (it takes longer to cook than you might think).  After 15 minutes, add the white beans and continue to cook until the kale is tender and beans are heated through.  If you want more vegetables, add them after the kale depending on how long they take to cook.  Serve with more grated Parmesan and crusty bread.  Yum!