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Tuscan Bean Soup with Pesto and Soda Bread

This is a fabulously healthy meal of a soup, great for cold days and a good way of using up vegetables in your veg box.  Extra pesto can be used on pasta for tea or you could make the soup thicker by reducing the stock to 500ml, pureeing in a stick blender and serving with gnocchi.

Ingredients: serves 8-10
2 tbsp olive oil
25g butter
2 onions, diced
2 celery sticks, diced
3 large carrots, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
6 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked and chopped
4 fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves picked and chopped
1 tsp paprika
2 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
2 litres vegetable stock
400g can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
1 savoy cabbage, stem removed and finely sliced
Sea salt and black pepper

For the pesto:
Small bunch fresh basil, leaves only
1 tbsp pine nuts
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
50g grated parmesan cheese

For the soda bread: serves 8
200g plain flour
200g wholemeal flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp salt
25g butter, melted
300ml milk

1.Heat the oil and butter in large saucepan. Add the onions and celery and sauté for 5 minutes until starting to soften.

2. Add the carrots, garlic, herbs and paprika and cook for a further 10 minutes until the carrots start to soften.

3. Add the tomatoes and stock, bring to a simmer, add the beans and cabbage and simmer for 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

4. To make the pesto: Place all the ingredients in a small food processor and whizz until finely chopped, add more olive oil if too thick.

5. To make the soda bread: Preheat the oven to 200c/gas 6.

6. Mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar and salt. Make a well in the centre and add the melted butter and milk. Mix to a dough, very gently, handling it as little as possible.

7. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and quickly shape the dough to a round flat loaf approx. 20cm wide. Score deep crosses on the top to make 8 wedges to let the fairies out.

8. Transfer to a lined baking tray and bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden and the bottom sounds hollow when you tap it.